The Government has today accepted the recommendations of the Elliott Report in full, including the establishment of a new Food Crime Unit. Will this give you more confidence in the food you buy?
I don’t know about you, but the horsemeat scandal really hit my confidence in the food I eat. The contamination of meat products across Europe made it starkly obvious that we didn’t really know what was going into our food and that fraud could be widespread.
We’ve been calling on the Government to take urgent steps to ensure a horsemeat-type scandal can’t happen again. Or, if it does, that it can be spotted sooner and those adulterating our food are caught and held to account through the Courts.
Professor Chris Elliott was commissioned by the Government to examine how food fraud incidents could be prevented from happening again. His report has now been published, and in a big win for our Stop Food Fraud campaign supporters, the Government has agreed to his recommendations in full. Hurrah! But what’s in the report, and is it any good?
Putting your needs first
Central to the Elliott Report is a ‘consumer first’ approach, where industry, government and enforcement agencies will always put the needs of consumers above all other objectives. We strongly support this emphasis (as you would expect), and we now want to see the Government outline how it intends to ensure your needs are top priority in food crime prevention.
One concern that became apparent during the horsemeat scandal was the lack of coordination across the Government and the Food Standards Agency. It’s quite worrying that since 2010 there hasn’t been effective means of coordination on food issues. This has been recognised in the Elliot Report – ministers will now meet regularly to discuss food crime to ensure problems are identified and rapid action is taken.
New Food Crime Unit
We had no idea how long horsemeat was present in our food, and there’s also the possibility that other foods out there are subject to adulteration. That’s why we need a body to take responsibility for investigating food crime – step forward the ‘Food FBI’ (as it’s been dubbed by the Daily Mail). This new Food Crime Unit (its formal description) will be set up by the end of 2014 and will be placed in the Food Standards Agency.
This Food Crime Unit is modelled on examples seen around the world, and will introduce capabilities for law enforcement style investigations into food crime. It’ll be key to identifying and prosecuting more of the criminals that mess with our food.
We welcome the publication of the Elliott Report and the Government’s full acceptance of its findings. We now want the Government to quickly implement all of the recommendations so that you can be confident in the food you buy.
Do the measures announced by the Government increase your confidence in the food you buy? What do you think about the introduction of a Food Crime Unit?
Will a new Food Crime Unit give you more confidence in the food you buy?
Yes (60%, 1,361 Votes)
Don't know (21%, 480 Votes)
No (19%, 422 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,263