Traceability is vital for confidence in food safety
As the facts surrounding the horsemeat scandal gradually emerge, a possible account of how this happened is being pieced together.
It has been reported that a Swedish company supplying British supermarkets employed a French company to manufacture ready meals. This company engaged another French firm who used an agent in Cyprus to get the meat from a Romanian abattoir to a factory in Luxembourg.
Whilst all of this has yet to be confirmed, it paints a highly convoluted picture of where our meat comes from.
With such complex supply chains now being commonplace, it could be argued that it was only a matter of time before such a scandal happened. It’s therefore vital that British food manufacturers are confident in their suppliers and know exactly where their produce is coming from.
One solution that has been put forward, is for everyone to “buy local”. A consequence of the horsemeat scandal is that high street butchers could see an increase in trade. This way, people will feel that that the meat they purchase has come from a local source, without the possible interference of criminal gangs.
If trust and confidence are to return, all suppliers should be able to say where their meat has come from. It should not take teams of detectives across a whole continent to trace the origins of some supposed beef.
Thankfully, this scandal doesn’t appear to have consequences for public safety, but businesses must learn from this and put their houses in order now if they are to avoid what could be an even worse situation.
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