In 1947 the Meat Inspectors Association of Scotland (M.I.A.S.) was established. This became the forerunner of the Association of Meat Inspectors G.B. Ltd., spawned some seventeen years later. William McGuffie, Senior Meat Inspector in Glasgow, Tom Smiley, who was not only an inspector, but a lecturer and William Burnside, who was an inspector at the fish market are believed to be the founder members of M.I.A.S. Their qualification encompassed meat and other foods.
Their President held office for just one year. The Association would hold their A.G.M. within his local authority and they would host a civic reception. This was custom and practice all over Scotland.
The Authorised Meat Inspector only came on the scene in England and Wales in 1961. By 1963 local authority had a duty to ensure all animals slaughtered in their area were inspected. It is true to say that Scottish Meat Inspectors formed the backbone of the service as it took shape in England and Wales because of their expertise in meat inspection.
At about this time meat inspectors were keen to belong to an Association and applied many times to the Association of Public Health Inspectors (A.PH.I.) to accept them even as associate members. This was refused because meat inspectors were deemed by A.P.H.I. not to have an equivalent qualification. Therefore on the 15″‘ November 1964 The Association of Meat Inspectors (A.M.I.) was founded in the Manchester area. John Sykes became the first Secretary with John McCrossan as Treasurer. Soon afterwards the South West Division was formed with Malcolm Davies as its first secretary.
The Association of Meat Inspectors had grown by 1965 when it held its first national A.G.M. in Birmingham. By this time F .P. Lawton, Manchester’s Chief Veterinary Officer had become President. Jim Broadfoot-Smith succeeded John Sykes as General Secretary and felt the need to disseminate news to the membership. He had duplicated news sheets prepared and sent out. He would say to Executive Committees of those days – ‘We must tell our people what we are doing. The membership must be informed.’ This is the origin of the Meat Hygienist, albeit basic by today’s standards, but none the lessthese news sheets were an invaluable source of information.
By 1968-69 there were ten branches of the association, they were:
Carlisle, East Lancs, Leeds, London, Home Counties, Manchester, Midlands, Newcastle, Norfolk, Sheffield and the South West.
By 1971 the then London and Home Counties Branch had enlarged to be renamed the S.E. Division, which in itself was a significant step in the Association’s development.
Another milestone was the publishing of the first Meat Hygienist in September 1972 when Jim Fleming was General Secretary. J. B. Smith his predecessor was entrusted with the role of Public Relations Officer, John Adams is recorded as being the first editor of the journal.
That same year a joint initiative between S. E. Division and the College for Distributive Trades – Smithfield marked the beginning of an Advanced Meat Inspection Course. Despite the in depth nature of the course, the A.M.I. could not get accreditation, it needed an outside examining board. The R.S.H. was approached, but declined. The course lasted four years.
In 1973 the Association organised its first 3-day conference/A.G.M. at Coventry, there the seeds were sown for the future seminars.
In 1976 the A.M.I organised a one-day symposium at the Coventry Esso hotel with Horace Thornton B.V.Sc., F.R.C.V.S., D.V.H., FR.S.H. The man reckoned by the majority of inspectors of that era to have written the most authoritative book on Meat Inspection. A legend one might say these days. He gave a talk then answered questions from the floor. That was a memorable day in the annals of the Association.
The A.M.I. announced that a mutually satisfactory conclusion had been reached between the A.M.I., the Meat Inspectors of Scotland (M.I.A.S.) and the Federation of Poultry Meat Inspectors (FP.M.I.).The three organisations had agreed both in principle and detail to the amalgamation of its members into one Association – The Association of Meat Inspectors in G.B. Ltd., from 1st January 1980.
Reaching the agreement had taken a long time, but the liaison committee felt that its discussions had to proceed carefully and without ignoring any special interests. The Scottish Association formed in 1947; had vast experience, a different legal framework, qualifications (meat and other foods) and long established procedures in its constitution. All partners would benefit from this experience with the new Association. The Federation of Poultry Meat Inspectors, although only founded in 1978 had worked very energetically for its members, most of whom were new recruits to local government. Much had to be done for the Poultry Meat Inspectors and for the service. Together with the resources of A.M.I. and M.I.A.S. it was gratifying to know that the FP.M.I. would be taking part in the new Association.
It had been steady progress for the A.M.I. since its inception some 15 years earlier. Very much of this was due to Jim Broadfoot-Smith, Secretary until 1972, who established a most efficient administration and to his successor, Jim Fleming who developed many activities for the A.M.I. and introduced new ones. Alan Wheeler was General Secretary at amalgamation used this most excellent base to carry the Association into the 1980’s with a new unity and future, he was aided by Professor R. Penny who was President at that time.
Part of the Association became an educational trust that would produce the Meat Hygienist, Seminar and all educational projects. A Charitable Trust in fact.
In 1981 saw the publication of the Meat Hygienist Pocket Book by N.R.P. Wilson who at that time was the editor of the Meat Hygienist. It was actually published by the Association, the foreword being written by President Professor Penny. The book had been written by a practical meat inspector for practising meat inspectors. The book was for a broad spectrum of readers from the student to the qualified inspector/ veterinarian.
A second edition was published in 1986 the author Ralph Wilson has subsequently given the copyright to the Association. This book proved extremely popular because of its easy to read format, size and no nonsense cost.
Buoyed by the success of the Meat Hygienist Pocket Book the A.M.I. decided to embark on a much larger project, a video. It would show exactly how meat inspection should be carried out, the textbook method, abiding by the legislation of the day. Peter Costema suggested the project and together with Peter Comrie and Jim Fleming they completed it in 1988. Most of the filming was done with kind permission at Lloyd Maunders.
A revised video was made in 1996 to take into account new legislation etc, this was undertaken jointly with the Meat Hygiene Service.
The Association over the years has accumulated a library both of books and videos. Jim Fleming is credited with being the instigator; new books are being added periodically so that members can use them as and when necessary. Some books in the library have been purchased from ECCEAMST (European Consortium for Continuing Education in Advanced Meat Science and Technology) based in the Netherlands, to which the Association is affiliated with.
Another affiliation is one the A.M.I. had with NALGO being entitled to have N.J.C.C. reps that attended the union meetings. Not only is education important, so is the welfare/ working conditions of the membership. That close relationship still exists, but now with Unison (formerly NALGO).
Close links have also been forged with other EU Inspectorates. Common problems, especially de-regulation face not only the UK, but are also being pursued by the EU. The A.M.I. does have regular meetings to see how this threat can be avoided.
The Association right from the onset has always wanted serious dialogue with related organisations, R.S.H., R.C.VS., H.S.A. and M.A.FF. to name but a few. Usually with M.A.FF it is concerned with proposed or existing legislation etc. One policy that the A.M.I. pursued from early on was that of a centralised meat inspection service, which came to fruition on April 1995, it was a topic regularly aired within the pages of the Meat Hygienist right from the beginning.
The Meat Hygienist is a publication that has helped to elevate the A.M.I. within other professional circles. Even local authorities, when meat inspection was their responsibility, subscribed to it so that it could be circulated within the whole of the Environmental Health Department. There is also an overseas subscription list for the journal. Not only is it the voice of the Association it is equally important as it gives the members a platform to make their views known.
In conclusion, we have been extremely fortunate during these years to have had conscientious officers to rely upon, plus hard working Councils. As a result the Association of Meat Inspectors G.B.Ltd has become a thriving, active organisation, committed to democratic control by its members and to voluntary effort.
From 1964 to the present day
F.P. Lawson M.R.C.V.S, D.V.S.M
J. Broadfoot-Smith M.R.San.A
J. King-Shaw M.R.C.V.S.
A. Ginsberg Dr. Med Vet, Ph.D, Dr.hc, B.V.Sc, M.R.C.V.S, M.R.S.H.
B. Tweed F.R.C.V.S, D.V.S.M, F.R.S.H.
R. Penny D.V.Sc, Ph.d, F.R.C.V.S, M.A.C.V.Ss- in office at amalgamation
F. Mallion M.B.E. F.R.S.H, F.Inst.R, F. Inst. M.A.M.I.
J.H.Pratt M.R.C.V.S. M.A.M.I.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE retired
P. Furlong M.A.M.I.
J. K. Sykes
J. Broadfoot-Smith M.R.San.A
J. Flemming M.A.M.I. (Twice)
A. Wheeler M.E.H.A. – in office at amalgamation
P. Comrie M.A.M.I.
I. Robinson M.A.M.I.
J. Thomas M.A.M.I