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UK has 'perhaps the safest food in the world'

Barbara Gallani
The FDF's Barbara Gallani said the overwhelming amount of food in the UK was safe. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

British consumers have access to "perhaps the safest food in the world" after the horse meat scandal, according to a food expert.

Barbara Gallani, from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) told Daybreak the Government acknowledged there were "some vulnerabilities, some areas where consumers and business are exposed", which they were dealing with after the horse meat scandal.

"The changes that have been put in place are quite wide-ranging; first of all there are more announced audits in businesses. The testing regime has been reviewed, informed by risk assessments that are now based on a much broader range of data.

"What we have learned is a much better sharing of data and intelligence, to make sure we know where the risks are."

LGA: It's up to manufacturers to ensure food safety

Responding to a study by Which? that highlights the "worrying decline" in local authority food checks a year on from the horsemeat scandal, the Local Government Association said the ultimate responsibility for food safety lies with manufacturers, retailers and suppliers.

Random sampling is just one tool available to councils and a reduction in testing does not mean an increased safety risk to the public.

Targeting high-risk businesses and acting on complaints is a far more effective use of their limited resources and also allows councils to free up responsible businesses from unnecessary inspections and red tape.

It is ultimately the responsibility of food manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to ensure the products they produce or sell comply fully with food law, are fit for consumption and won't risk public safety.

– Nick Worth, the Local Government Association's regulation spokesman

Read: Food testing down 6.8% over the past year

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MP calls for improvements to food supply chain

Anne McIntosh
The public has to accept retailers are 'under huge pressure' to provide low cost food, Anne McIntosh said. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

Food supply chains need to be examined and a network of analysts must be set up if the UK is to avoid another horse meat scandal, an influential MP has told Daybreak.

Head of the environment, food and rural affairs committee, Anne McIntosh, said the horse meat scandal had exposed security issues in Britain's food supply chain.

"If you look at the distance that some of the food was travelling that goes into these processed foods - a. It is a false economy, b. The traceability is much more difficult to secure," she said.

"I think we have to accept that retailers are under huge pressure to provide cheap food," Ms McIntosh added.

Read more: Food testing down 6.8% over the past year

Food testing down 6.8% over the past year

There is a "huge variation" in food hygiene standards across the UK, according to a Which? investigation launched in the wake of the horse meat scandal.

Food testing by local authorities fell by 6.8% over the past year, the group found.

The investigation by the consumer group into 395 local authorities across the UK used Food Standards Agency data and found:

  • Bexley in London was the poorest performing local authority, with five other London councils in our bottom 10 (Ealing, Enfield, Harrow, Richmond upon Thames and Southwark).
  • Cherwell District Council in North Oxfordshire was rated as the best performing local authority.
  • No official hygiene sampling was carried out at all by Bexley, Christchurch, Isles of Scilly, Medway, Tamworth, West Lindsey and West Yorkshire in 2012/13.
  • The overall testing rate fell by 6.8% in 2013.
  • Testing for labelling and presentation fell by 16.2%

Read more: Shopping habits 'changed' by horse meat scandal

Shopping habits 'changed' by horse meat scandal

Almost one third are disillusioned with their supermarket after the horse meat scandal at the beginning of last year, a poll for Daybreak has revealed.

Read more: Two held in horse meat probe

Horsemeat
The Peter Boddy slaughterhouse, one of two British processing plants which were raided and shut down because of the horse meat scandal. Credit: PA

A One Poll survey found almost one third no longer had faith in supermarkets after traces of horse DNA were found in Tesco value burgers in mid-January 2013.

More than a third now spent extra time checking the contents of their food, the poll revealed.

A further 25% had stopped buying value food products altogether.

Read more: Horse DNA in canned beef

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Wales

FSA: Restrictions on Aberystwyth meat processor lifted

The Food Standards Agency has announced that is has lifted the suspension against Farmbox Meats Ltd near Aberystwyth. They say the decision means they can now operate under 'conditional approval.'

The decision to restrict work at the plant was made in February at the height of the horse meat scandal. The owner of Farmbox Meats has always denied any wrongdoing.

The FSA has required the establishment to provide guarantees before allowing it to operate again and has also informed the business that it will not hesitate to withdraw its approval if there is sufficient evidence that there is non-compliance with all requirements placed on food business operators.

– Food Standards Agency Statement
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