It is exactly a year since horsemeat was first discovered in processed beef product sold by a several of Britain’s leading supermarkets, throwing the spotlight on the food industry’s supply chain in UK and in Europe.
Overall in the UK less than 0.3 per cent of products tested positive for horsemeat above the UK Food Standards Agency’s one per cent threshold. However, despite these small numbers the scandal raised serious questions about the security of our food supply chains across Europe and of trust.
In Europe the scandal is still galloping on. Today, Dutch authorities recalled 11,000 kg of mislabeled French horsemeat that was turned into food products. This comes after 21 cattle traders and butchers were arrest in France on suspicion of illegally selling 200 horses from the sports and pharmaceutical industry.
As the British Retail Consortium said in a statement today, trust is crucial to retailer’s retaining the loyalty of their customers and any level of adulteration is clearly unacceptable.
“[Retailers] have built on their existing controls over the last 12 months working with their suppliers to learn the lessons to tackle food fraud more directly. Much has already been done - suppliers have been re-assessed, supply chains are less complex including an increase in sourcing from the UK, there has been an increase in the unannounced audits of suppliers, and targeted testing led by intelligence.
Closer liaison both within the UK and across Europe is essential to tackle issues such as food fraud. The BRC is working with the UK Food Standards Agency and the recommendations of the Elliott report to ensure these issues do not recur.”