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Eversheds comment: Key to tackling food fraud lies in better detection coupled with robust response

  • United Kingdom

    11-10-2013

    Commenting on the recent NAO report into food fraud, David Young, partner and head of health and safety at global law firm Eversheds, says:

    "The report of the National Audit Office in one sense tells us nothing new about the systems for safeguarding the integrity of the food chain in the UK. As with so many reports, it articulates the problem but not the solution, although concerns were expressed by many when the Government restructured the various agencies' responsibilities in 2010. That, coupled with the inevitable scaling back of resources in the Food

    Standards Agency and beyond was not the cause of the horsemeat scandal, though it would have made it harder to detect.

    "However, it is clear that we had not been looking hard enough at food fraud generally for years and it is perhaps ironic that had it been a serious safety issue, it probably would have been addressed more comprehensively. The Government appointed Professor Chris Elliott in June to lead a full review of food chain integrity in light of the horsemeat issue and it is to his report in a few months' time that we should be looking to confirm not simply what happened but, more importantly, how we stop or reduce the likelihood of it happening again. Food fraud is not new, but neither will it simply go away. The key will be in better detection and robust response when it is found."

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