The UK’s myriad food businesses must take up the fight against food fraud or face another major scandal. That’s the stark warning to be put forward by Professor Chris Elliott, one of the UK’s top experts on the matter, at this autumn’s Fighting Food Fraud Conference.
Professor Elliott, who authored The Elliott Review (the Government’s report into the 2013 food fraud scandal involving allegations of horse meat in food products), will address the challenges posed by that review and look at how businesses can best protect themselves while also maintaining supply chain integrity and food authenticity.
The director of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University, Belfast will use the event at Doncaster Racecourse on Thursday 17 September to state in no uncertain terms that the fight has only just begun and, what’s more, can only be won with a co-ordinated effort.
Professor Elliott told Risk UK: “Food fraud has fast become one of the key issues for the food industry. From suppliers such as farms and abattoirs through to manufacturers, packagers and supermarkets and even caterers, restaurants and licensed premises, every business in the chain is affected by any occurrence of food fraud and the negative effect it has upon consumer confidence. It’s up to businesses to understand the types of food fraud and its indicators, its penalties and consequences, and why protecting the wider food industry begins with businesses informing and protecting themselves.”
The Professor of Food Safety will be joined at the event by Andy Morling, the recently-appointed head of the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food Crime Unit. Morling is set to discuss the role of the Food Crime Unit and its impact so far.
Also speaking on the day is John Figgins, the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) technical specialist, who’ll provide an insight into compliance with Issue 7 of the BRC’s Global Standard for Food Safety.
Food authenticity “under close scrutiny”
The Fighting Food Fraud Conference is being organised by Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC), one of the UK’s leading awarding organisations for food safety qualifications.
Richard Sprenger, HABC’s chairman and author of Hygiene for Management and the Food Safety Handbook, commented: “Food authenticity has come under close scrutiny recently from food retailers, manufacturers and consumers alike. Food law enforcement must be delivered effectively so that consumers can have confidence in the food that they eat. With ongoing work to identify potential food fraud, this has fast become a key topic within the food safety industry.”
Professor Elliott was asked by the Secretaries of State for Defra and Health to carry out an independent review of Britain’s food system in the light of the horse meat fraud. The Elliott Review’s Interim Report published in late 2013 suggested a systems-based approach to tackling food fraud. The recommendations made were numerous.
*Industry, Government and enforcement agencies always put the needs of consumers above all other considerations. This means giving food safety and crime prevention absolute priority over other objectives
*There’s zero tolerance for food fraud so minor dishonesties are discouraged and the response to major dishonesties is punitive
*There is a shared investment between Government and industry in intelligence gathering and sharing, while at the same time having due regard to the sensitivities of the market
*Those involved with audit, inspection and enforcement have access to resilient, sustainable laboratory services that use standardised and validated methodologies
*Industry and regulators give weight to audit and assurance regimes so as to allow credit where it’s due, but also try to minimise duplication where possible
*Government support for the integrity and assurance of food supply networks is kept specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART)
*There’s clear leadership and co-ordination of investigations and prosecutions and the public interest is recognised in active enforcement and significant penalties for significant food crimes
*When a serious incident occurs the necessary mechanisms are in place so that regulators and industry can deal with it effectively
Book your place at the Fighting Food Fraud Conference 2015
Tickets for the Fighting Food Fraud Conference at Doncaster Racecourse on 17 September 2015 are priced at £170 plus VAT (£130 plus VAT for HABC Centres).
*To book your place telephone 0845 226 0350 or e-mail: email@example.com
**Further information is available at: www.highfieldabc.com
HABC offers over 200 qualifications covering a wide variety of industries including security, stewarding, food safety, customer service, Health and Safety, licensing, retail, logistics, catering and hospitality