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Review urges unannounced audits and zero-tolerance

A national food crime prevention network with unannounced audits and a zero-tolerance approach will help protect consumers from more incidents like the horsemeat scandal, a government-commissioned report has said.

In the final draft of the long-awaited report, Professor Chris Elliott called for a "robust, effective" Food Crime Unit to protect the industry and consumers from criminal activity.

Last year horsemeat was found in products that had been labelled as containing beef. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Consumers must be put first by ensuring that their needs in relation to food safety and food crime prevention are the "top priority", Professor Elliott added.

Horsemeat report urges Food Crime Unit creation

The final report into the horsemeat scandal has made a number of recommendations to "improve the integrity and assurance of food supply networks".

They include:

  • Put the 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 the food industry and consumers from criminal activity
  • Zero tolerance approach to food fraud by improving intelligence gathering
  • Introduce unannounced audit checks by the food industry
  • Support the development of whistleblowing and reporting of food crime
  • Improve lab testing capacity and capability to ensure a standardised approach for food testing
  • Encourage the food industry to question the source of their supply chain

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Horsemeat report: Buying policies 'matter for concern'

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:

Timeline of the 2013 horse meat scandal

  • 15 January 2013 - It emerges horse DNA was found in frozen burgers sold in several British and Irish supermarkets. Tecso, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores all remove the offending products.
  • 7 February - Findus announce the majority of its Beef Lasagne it had tested contained between 60%-100% horse meat
  • 14 February - The French Government announces a French company had its license revoked A La Table de Spanghero license after it was found knowingly selling horse meat labelled as beef. They had sold to another French company, Comigel.
  • The horse meat found in Comigel products originated from a Romanian slaughterhouse called Doly Com. They had supplied the meat under contract to a holding company based in Cyprus, Draap Trading Limited.
  • The company, which operates in the Netherlands, was found to be owned by a Virgin Islands holding company. Draap spelt backwards is paard, the Dutch word for horse.
  • April 2013 - Independent review of the food industry is announced by the Government.

Elliot report into food fraud expected to be published

A long-awaited report into the food industry which was launched after last year's horsemeat scandal is due to be published later this morning.

Horsemeat on display in a butchers shop in Germany. Credit: PA

Professor Chris Elliot's report into food fraud is expected to warn that the industry is susceptible to criminal activity.

In an interim report published last December, Elliot urged the creation of a specialist unit to tackle food fraud and protect consumers.

The report was initially due out in the spring, but was pushed back due to the European elections.

The Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) commissioned the report after horsemeat was found in a number of food products labelled as beef.

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