The Elliot Review

Published in September 2014 the Elliot Review into the 2013 horsemeat scandal has recommended the creation of “a new robust and effective food crime unit”. Professor Elliot (a Food Security Expert at Queens University in Belfast) has stated that without it a repeat of the horsemeat scandal would be “inevitable”. The government has agreed to set up the new unit by the end of 2014, and it will be based at the FSA (Food Standards Agency). However, Professor Elliot has also warned that there aren’t enough public health laboratories or trading standards officers to support the new unit. In 2009 there were 2,500 fully trained officers, and it’s estimated that this has been reduced to about 1,000. The horsemeat scandal exposed the extent of the endemic corruption and fraud within the meat industry, but despite several criminal investigations nobody (to date) has been prosecuted or fined. It’s a pity that the eminent Professor didn’t simply recommend the most obvious way of avoiding any sort of ‘illegal’ or ‘mislabeled’ meat – don’t buy it.

Paul Freestone

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