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Government launches independent review into horse meat scandal

Government launches independent review into horse meat scandal

The government has announced the launch of a wide-ranging independent review into the recent horse meat scandal.

It will last for around a year and will be chaired by Professor Chris Elliot of Queen's University Belfast, who is a food safety specialist and the UK's leading expert on the incident.

In a statement, food minister Owen Paterson said that Professor Elliot's review would be mainly focused on the issues relating to consumer confidence, the authenticity of food, and whether there were any failures within the food supply networks.

He will present his interim findings this December, before releasing his final report by spring next year.

Mr Paterson said: "We have also asked Professor Elliott to provide emerging findings on the European aspects of the review, so that we can continue to influence action at a European level and effectively engage in the European Union process.

"The reviewer will, in due course, issue a call for evidence seeking information and views on the integrity of the food supply network, any vulnerabilities and how assurances might be strengthened to support consumer confidence."

The launch of the inquiry comes as Professor Pat Tropp, who was handed the task of reviewing the Food Standard Agency's (FSA) response to the sandal, is due to show her findings to an FSA board meeting, ahead of the publication of her report at the end of June.

The ABP Food Group, the company at the centre of the news, has also announced plans to run DNA tests on nearly one million cattle a year.

Chief executive Paul Finnerty said the firm had learned "significant lessons" from the scandal and that it had been looking at the possibility of deploying DNA testing ever since.

Its Silvercrest plant in Ballybay, Co Monaghan, was where a burger containing 29 per cent horse meat was found back in January.

The plant has since been sold and the new owners announced last week that it had won a contract with the fast food chain Burger King, which was lost when the revelations first arose.

 

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