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Recommendations for Scottish food industry outlined in new report

Recommendations for Scottish food industry outlined in new report

A new report commissioned by the Scottish government has recommended a better understanding of the food industry and complex supply chains, as the fall out from the horse meat scandal continues.

Putting Food Safety First, which was put together by an expert advisory group led by former chief vet Jim Scudamore, said that that clearer insights into facets of the food industry were needed in order to help guard against the possibility of food fraud.

Mr Scudamore said: "The ability to identify potentially fraudulent behaviour and prevent it occurring is an important objective. Methods for the detection of fraud are equally important and if an issue such as horse meat is detected, it is essential that contingency plans are in place to provide a rapid response to protect consumers."

Areas in need of closer scrutiny included the meat supply chain, the horse meat incident and response, risk impact, risk management and the communication of risk.

It went on to mention that there had been "major blows" in terms of financial losses as a result of the scandal, which led to a lot of contaminated products being destroyed, harming the reputation of many companies.

The cost of widespread testing also had an impact on of the firms involved, due to the price of DNA testing, which was often placed between £150 and £250 per sample.

The report recommends that the testing methods needed to be better developed in order to improve their sensitivity and accuracy.

It said: "Tests must also be reproducible, reliable and provide rapid results, so that action can be taken with confidence by the enforcement agencies or industries themselves."

Despite the negative impact on various companies within the industry, the report did offer a certain amount of praise for the Scottish government's response to the crisis, claiming that a key aspect was the ability of local authorities to co-ordinate with each other across the country.

The Food and Drink Federation said that it needed more time to study the details of the findings.

 

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