Horsemeat crisis

Meat supply chain has ‘shocking blind spots’ after 50kt goes missing

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Supply chain, Supply chain management

Much of the missing 50,000t of meat, possibly contaminated with horse, is thought to have been eaten. Don't miss our free webinar on the lessons to be learned from the horsemeat crisis. More details at the end of this article
Much of the missing 50,000t of meat, possibly contaminated with horse, is thought to have been eaten. Don't miss our free webinar on the lessons to be learned from the horsemeat crisis. More details at the end of this article
The European meat supply chain still contains “shocking blind spots”, said a supply chain management firm, after the Dutch authorities revealed 50,000t of meat supplied by two Dutch meat traders may have contained horsemeat.

The Dutch authorities are trying to recall the meat – which was supplied to the UK and other European food companies – but much is thought to have been eaten. DNA tests revealed some of the meat, which was sold as beef, contained horse DNA.

John Bailey, European vice president of supply chain management and software firm JDA Software, said the Dutch admission again highlighted many companies’ lack of visibility across their extended network of suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and producers.

“Food supply chains remain incredibly complex due to the increase in global sourcing of materials and ingredients, yet with the right processes they should be managed effectively and, most importantly, give consumers peace of mind. What is most worrying is the number of blind spots that seem to currently exist.”

Free horsemeat webinar

The lessons to be learned from the horsemeat crisis will be the subject of a free one-hour webinar​ to be staged on May 16 at 11am GMT. See the end of this article for more details.

Bailey went on to say it was “shocking”​ that the illegal substitution of horsemeat in the food supply chain has continued unchecked. “Retailers must insist that everyone in the supply chain – not only their suppliers but also their suppliers’ suppliers – collaborate in order to understand where and how meat products are coming into the supply chain from farm to fork.

“Only through strict auditing can incongruences or inconsistencies to be identified, investigated and addressed.”

Meanwhile, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority said there was no evidence that the meat posed a threat to human health.

The meat was supplied by Wiljo Import en Export and Vleesgroothandel Willy Selten to about 500 food firms across Europe. Willy Selten has now ceased trading but denies any wrong doing.

‘I think it has largely been consumed’

Benno Bruggink, of the Netherlands Food Safety Authority, told BBC News: “The meat ended up all over Europe. I think it has largely been consumed. But any meat we can find, we are going to recall.”

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said there was no evidence that safety standards had been compromised.

Earlier this week, the FSA launched an investigation in to how Asda corned beef​ became contaminated with horsemeat, which was revealed to contain the banned veterinary drug phenylbutazone.

Meanwhile, the FSA’s director of operations Andrew Rhodes will be taking part in a free one-hour webinar on the lessons to be learned from the horsemeat crisis at 11am on Thursday May 16.

Other speakers include Professor Tony Hines, head of food security and crisis management at Leatherhead Food Research and Hilary Ross, partner with business law firm and event sponsor DWF.

Book your place at this free-to-attend event here​.

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