The newly published final report into the horsemeat scandal, which includes the idea of setting up a food crime unit, has been welcomed by the National Farmers Union (NFU).
Following last year’s horsemeat incident, Professor Chris Elliott was asked by the Secretaries of State for Defra and the Department of Health to lead a review into the integrity and assurance of food supply networks and to make recommendations on what could be done to protect UK consumers from food fraud. The report he has now produced includes the following key recommendations:
- Put consumers first by ensuring that their needs in relation to food safety and food crime prevention are the top priority.
- Create a robust, effective Food Crime Unit to protect our food industry and consumers from criminal activity, and support better links with food crime agencies across the EU and beyond.
- Adopt a zero tolerance approach to food fraud by improving intelligence gathering and sharing to make it difficult for criminals to operate.
- Introduce new unannounced audit checks by the food industry to protect businesses and their customers.
- Support the development of whistleblowing and the reporting of food crime.
- Improve laboratory testing capacity and capability to ensure a standardised approach for testing for food authenticity.
- Encourage the food industry to question the source of their supply chain.
NFU President Meurig Raymond (pictured) commented: “We are pleased that the Government is taking the horsemeat issue seriously in a bid to ensure that consumers can have 100% confidence that the meat they buy is exactly what it is supposed to be, and when they want to Back British farming, they can.”
However, he also said: “Although we approve of plans to set up a new system of authenticity, we await with interest on details as to how that will be implemented. We would not want added costs passed on to our farmers, who have not been implicated in any way during this scandal.”