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FAREWELL RECEPTION SPEECH FOR SIR JOHN KREBS

Delivered by Dr Yunes Teinaz, Health & Management Advisor to the Director General, The London Central Mosque Trust & the Islamic Cultural Centre, and Principal Environmental Health Officer, London Borough of Hackney, on 15 February 2005 at The London Central Mosque Trust & the Islamic Cultural Centre

Assalamu alaykum WA rahmatullahi WA barakatuhu.

Sir John, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, Dr Ahmed Al Dubayan, Director General of the London Central Mosque Trust & the Islamic Cultural Centre,
Your Excellencies! Eminent guests, ladies and Gentleman.

When the Food Standards Agency was formed in 2000 We were very sceptical about its core values of: putting consumers first, to be open and accessible and be an independent voice. Five years down the line, scepticism of even heavy weight critic like me, is rapidly waning.

Performance of Food Standards Agency, under your leadership, Sir John, has improved by leaps and bounds. You have with the help of Board Members and your staff, as promised managed to deliver measurable improvement in public confidence in the way food safety and standards are managed across the UK.

The FSA maintains an excellent working relationship with the Muslim community and regularly consult them on all the issues requiring their input, or advice of issues that are of particular relevant to them.

As a member of the ethnic minority community, I was very pleased to learn that you had underpinned the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 by establishing a dedicated Diversity Branch in 2002 within the Enforcement Division.

This branch provides very efficient Secretariat for the Muslim Organisations Working Group, very ably Chaired by David Statham, who has directed the initiation of many initiatives for the betterment of ethnic minorities, such as the ‘Engagement with the Asian Community Project’.

I am sure you are aware that I am an Environmental Heath Officer with a special interest in combating the rotten trade in illegal and unfit meat. I directly benefit from the remit of the branch to provide technical advice to local authorities, in relations to the investigations of the sale of illegal meat. Therefore, extending the role of this branch to include the meat fraud portfolio is very welcomed.

You may also be aware that misdescribed, unfit and poor quality meat is deliberately targeted at vulnerable communities. As the big consumers of meat and poultry we Muslims are particularly affected by the activities of the unscrupulous traders. Hydrolysed pork protein in chickens and non- Halal meat sold as Halal, are the obvious examples. Hence, I personally, I am very pleased to see the meat fraud aspect.

We are in debited to you for personally visiting us here in the Islamic Cultural Centre about two years ago and informing us about the theoretical risk of BSE in sheep. That visit to me personified the FSA’s commitment.

I am sure you know that the Muslim religion is a complete way of life and therefore observance of our dietary laws is very important to us and we hope that your successor will be as passionate about the protection of Muslim consumers’ rights as you are.

Today, Sir John, we bid you farewell with mix feelings, we are sad to loose one of the very capable leader but are happy that you are returning to your academic roots, where I am sure you will make a mark an excel by utilising the transferable skills, you have no doubt, acquired whilst working for the FSA.

On behalf of the London Central Mosque Trust & the Islamic Cultural Centre; and my colleagues at the London Borough of Hackney I wish you well and once again thank you very much for all you have done for the Muslim Community and the Nation.