Last Sunday Owen Paterson, Environment Secretary, promised that he would have "staff" look into when the government was first informed over the horsemeat scandal, after allegations made by John Young former manager of the Meat Hygiene Service which was an executive arm of the FSA, that he wrote two letters one to DEFRA and the other to the FSA and would publish exactly what they said. The staff asked to carry out the task turned out to be Catherine Brown.
Ms Brown took over the post of CEO of the Food Standards Agency in October 2012, before this she was CEO of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), which is an executive agency of the government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Owen Paterson's department.
John Young claims to have written to the FSA on behalf of Britain's biggest horsemeat exporter to alert them 22 months ago in April 2011 about a potential scandal brewing that illicit horsemeat which tested positive with drug residues of banned substances had breached the human food supply chain. Mr Young claims he wrote to the then Minister of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Sir Jim Paice and he was totally ignored! Jim Paice's boss at that time would have been former Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman.
The letter from High Peak Meat Exports warned that a horse passport scheme to stop the veterinary drug, phenylbutazone, (bute) getting into the human food chain was a "debacle", with 75 organisations issuing documents.
Mr Young also claims to have written to the FSA on 5th May, 2011, enclosing a copy of an unlawful horse passport and a warning that illegal horsemeat was entering the food chain. A passage in the letter asked FSA and the government; "Are the lunatics in total control of the asylum?"
Then in July 2012, 15 months AFTER they were first notified of the breach, the government's veterinary residues committee sounded the alarm warning that horses treated with bute were not being banned from the food chain. It warned of the risk of "serious adverse effects in consumers".
Mr Paice who left DEFRA in September 2012, said he did not "recall seeing" the warnings from High Peak or the veterinary committee.
It's now been four days since Paterson asked Ms Brown to search for these letters and still no word if they have been found and if they have what they said.
Also we appear to have Ms Brown investigating "herself", she would have been aware of the letter as she was CEO of AHVLA when they issued their own warning to the government about "serious adverse effects to consumers"! So when she went to the FSA as CEO why didn't she asked what had been done about this problem?
Still waiting for an answer Mr Paterson as to what was in those two letters and why they were ignored and also why the government ignored the warnings from their own veterinary residues committee?
That's three warnings the government has ignored that we know of - any more? (Or are these going to be forced out of you too?)
We have a totally incompetent government, a government that is willing to risk the health and safety of the nation so it doesn't dent their own political popularity and political machinations.
This is not the first time this Conservative controlled coalition government have deliberately put the public at risk, David Cameron and Cabinet Secretary, Francis Maude did it last year when they deliberately caused fuel panic at filling station pumps because they thought they could harm the unions, that time a lady ended fighting for her life with serious burns, this current scandal has the potential to be a lot more serious.
We must have an answer as to why this Government decided to ignore the serious warnings they were given THREE times and knowingly placing the nation's health at risk and also ignoring rampant food fraud which they knew was occurring in the food supply chain and we must have an answer with the utmost urgency and that's now NOT next year or whenever the Government feel they can bury their bad news!