The government is to set up a crime unit to police the food supply chain following last year’s horsemeat scandal. The move follows publication of the Elliott report on food integrity and assurance of food supply networks.
Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss said the government accepted all the recommendations in the report.
As well as the Food Crime Unit, the government plans to:
* improve labelling including new country of origin labelling introduced from April 2015.
* make it easier for food procurers to make decisions about the locality, authenticity and traceability of their food.
Prof Christopher Elliott
The review examines ways to prevent food fraud incidents from happening. Chris Elliott is professor of food safety and director of the Institute for Global Food security at Queen’s University Belfast. His recommendations are:
* giving top priority to the needs of consumers in relation to food safety and food crime prevention, including through targeted testing, intelligence gathering and surveys.
* a zero tolerance approach to food fraud including by the development of whistleblowing and reporting of food crime.
* a shared focus by government and industry on intelligence gathering and sharing.
* improving laboratory testing capacity and capability to ensure a standardised approach for testing for food authenticity.
* introducing new unannounced audit checks by the food industry to protect businesses and their customers.
* government support for the integrity and assurance of food supply networks through the creation of a National Food Safety and Food Crime Committee.
* leadership and coordination of effective investigations through the creation of a new Food Crime Unit.
* ensuring mechanisms are in place for serious food safety and/or food crime incident management by implementing the recommendations of the Troop report.