The minister explained that the moves would concern strengthening the Veterinary Inspectorate and replacing so-called free-practice veterinary doctors, who work on the commission of district veterinary doctors, among other places at slaughterhouses and meat processing plants, with staff of the Inspectorate.
"Such a system will improve food safety, increasing the responsibility of the Inspectorate," Ardanowski stated, noting at the same time that work had already started on such a solution before a recent scandal broke about the illegal slaughter of sick cows. The agriculture minister added that "of course" this would entail staffing and financial reinforcements of the Inspectorate.
A further tightening of the food safety system will entail the installation of video cameras for 24-hour monitoring of sites where animals are collected and at slaughterhouses. Currently there is no 24-hour veterinary supervision of such facilities and it was not in place during the nocturnal slaughter of cows at the Ostrów Mazowiecka slaughterhouse.
"The meat was probably stamped by unauthorised persons and that is a crime, the matter will be looked into by the police and prosecutor," the minister announced.
Ardanowski underscored that he is "very satisfied" with the announcement that EU inspectors will come to Poland on Monday. "I expect the inspectors will tell us something, they will share their remarks about what to improve although to date the documents presented by the Polish Veterinary Inspectorate have never been questioned," he noted, adding that procedures in Poland were identical to those in other EU member states. (PAP)