Thirsk and Malton MP Launches Report into Horsemeat Scandal
12:05am 14th February 2013
Anne McIntosh MP for Thirsk and Malton in her role as Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has launched the report of a short inquiry into the horsemeat scandal.
It concludes that current arrangements for testing and control across the European food industry have failed UK consumers. It adds the FSA needs clear powers and responsibilities so that it can respond more effectively to any future food contamination scandal.
Anne McIntosh said: “The scale of contamination emerging in the meat supply chain is breath-taking. More revelations will doubtless come to light in the UK and across the EU.
“There is every indication that horsemeat has been intentionally substituted for beef by criminals with access to the food industry. Elements within the food industry have duped consumers in the UK and across Europe in pursuit of profit.
“The Government must ensure effective traceability requirements in respect of the sale and marketing of processed foods originating from EU Member States (including the UK).
“Retailers have responsibilities to ensure UK consumers get food that is labelled accurately and provides sufficient information to make informed decisions about their purchases.
“Restoring customer confidence will take time and money. The Government has a role to secure the correct balance between affordable food prices and effective regulations that require transparency and quality.
“The consumer cannot be left to face a catch 22 where they can either pay for food that complies with the highest standards of traceability, labelling and testing or accept that they cannot trust the provenance and composition of the foods they eat.”
The Committee recommends:
- the FSA be given the power by law to require testing by producers, taking into account the level of risk,
- all testing results must be reported to the FSA whether they are ordered by the FSA or carried out independently, and,
- a broader range of testing to provide greater reassurance to consumers.
The Committee warns the Government that it should not, at this time, propose to reduce labelling standards applied to British food.
The Committee will now take further evidence on these issues.
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