Despite recent reports that publication would be delayed, the UK Government has released the final report of the Elliot Review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply Networks, commissioned in the wake of the 2013 horsemeat contamination scandal.
The Review, undertaken by Chris Elliot, Professor of Food Safety at Queens University Belfast, is a comprehensive examination of the UK food supply chain based on interviews with stakeholders and other evidence gathering. It identifies a number of weaknesses in the chain that present opportunities for adulteration, fraud and other food crimes.
Professor Elliot makes a number of recommendations to protect the UK food supply from criminal interference. These are based on the ‘eight pillars of food integrity’ needed to create a strong ‘national food crime prevention network’. They include the creation of a national food crime unit, a move towards modular and unannounced supplier audits, a modernised and properly funded network of analytical testing laboratories, better links with food crime agencies in other EU countries and a more active leadership role for the Food Standards Agency.
The UK Government has already indicated a willingness to accept the report’s recommendations and the Food Standards Agency is reported to have begun restructuring accordingly. Food businesses have also largely welcomed the report.
The Elliot Review final report can be found in full here.