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.
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.
The final report into the horsemeat scandal has made a number of recommendations to "improve the integrity and assurance of food supply networks".
- 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
ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:
Horse meat review just out says retailers buying policies "matter of concern" in industry that maximises profits
Horsemeat scandal review calls for more unannounced food checks and condemns culture of secrecy in the industry
- 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.
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.
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.
Princess Anne has suggested that Britain should eat more horsemeat to stop surplus animals being abandoned and said she thinks the food tastes "very good."
"An awful lot of the abandonments is because they don't perceive there to be any value in the animals," she told BBC One's Countryfile.
"The meat trade adds value to the animal so there is some point in keeping it healthy if it's got an end point that it can go to."
Asked if she had ever eaten horse meat, she replied: "Oh, certainly."
She described the meat as tasting "very good, actually."
The owner of a horse sanctuary in Staffordshire has hit back at a suggestion from Princess Anne that eating horsemeat would improve the welfare of the animals.
Billy Wilson likened it to "cannibalism" as he said horses are the "closest animals to mankind".
Yesterday Princess Anne wondered if the UK should be considering creating a market for horsemeat to stop the animals being abandoned in increasing numbers.
Today one butcher claimed the British attitude towards eating horses is unique among our European neighbours.
And as Damon Green reports, as the debate continues, there will be more horses needing to find a home.
Princess Anne has suggested that people in Britain should consider eating horsemeat because it would improve the welfare of the animals.
She said that "Our attitudes to the horsemeat trade may have to change," because those in the trade "value their horses and look after them well".
The Princess asked whether we "should we be considering a real market for horsemeat and would that reduce the number of welfare case?"
"I think this needs a debate."
The Princess Royal, who is President of the charity World Horse Welfare, was speaking at its annual meeting when she made the comments, The Telegraph reported.
A batch of canned sliced beef has been withdrawn from sale in the UK after it was found to contain horse DNA.
The product affected, which is sold in Home Bargains and Quality Save storeshas:
- A ‘best before’ date of January 2016
- The 320g packs are described on the label as ‘Food Hall Sliced Beef in Rich Gravy’
- The batch code of the product is 13.04.C.
Customers are advised to return the product to where it was originally purchased.