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Eversheds comment: Food prices predicted to rise after latest food scandal

  • United Kingdom

    10-02-2014

    As test results from a public laboratory in West Yorkshire find more additives in food products, including a withdrawn prescription drug for obesity in herbal tea, David Young, Head partner of Health and Safety at global law firm Eversheds, considers the consequences:

    "Perhaps the only surprise here is the extent of the issue. The finding from a public laboratory in West Yorkshire not only confirm Professor Chris Elliott's message but highlight a problem in the UK that is going to be a long time solving.

    “In my view there are at least three factors responsible - and to a degree they are UK-centric. First, we chose when creating the Food Standards Agency in 1999 to keep the policing and enforcement role largely separate. That was driven down local authority lines which has led to inconsistency in delivery and local funding priority decisions away from the food sector. Second, whilst independent testing facilities are essential, no-one prioritised and, more importantly, wanted to pay for their continued existence in sufficient numbers. Third, whether one sees it as consumer-driven or retailer-driven, we want year-round availability and we want cheap. Manufacturers and retailers may well feel they are too easy a target from all sides. The stark reality is that there are too many individuals willing to seek unlawful gains at the expense of others – not just consumers.

    “Expect a resurgence in the popularity of organic food, a re-ignition of the GM debate and - above all - prices to go up as a result."

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