Horsemeat webinar

Four ways horsemeat crisis will benefit UK food industry

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food supply chains, Food

Greater interest and trust in British food will be a key benefit of the horsemeat crisis, said Mintel
Greater interest and trust in British food will be a key benefit of the horsemeat crisis, said Mintel
The horsemeat crisis is bringing four benefits to the UK food industry, despite all the adverse publicity that followed in its wake, said speakers at Food Manufacture’s webinar – Horsemeat, learning the lessons of an avoidable crisis – held yesterday (May 16).

The four key benefits were: greater awareness of the need to secure food supply chains; a realisation that responsibility for food safety and quality should be shared; more interest and trust in British food; and wider recognition of the risk of food and drink fraud.

A greater understanding of the importance of safeguarding the supply chain was highlighted by Andrew Rhodes, director of operations at the Food Standards Agency. “For me, it is a greater awareness of the need to secure food supply chains – not to rely on contracts – and to check what’s in there​ [food and food ingredients],” he said.

‘Greater understanding among consumers’

Rhodes also highlighted a wider recognition of how the food industry worked and its significance. The crisis had resulted in a “greater understanding among consumers – and, hopefully, the media and politicians – in how the food industry fits together and not to take it ​[the food industry] for granted”.

Wider realisation of the responsibility for food safety was picked out by Hilary Ross, partner with business law firm DWF. “I think it has made clear that the role of food safety and quality does not fall just to retailers and manufacturers,”​ she said. “It’s a multi-faceted issue, in which everyone has to become involved.”

A greater interest British food was the silver lining highlighted by Kiti Soininen, head of Mintel’s UK food and drink research team. “For me, it is undoubtedly the growth in interest and the growth in trust in British food at the moment,”​ said Soininen. “Those are things the British food industry can certainly look to tap into more effectively.”

Risk of food fraud

More knowledge about the risk of food fraud and its prevention was the benefit selected by Professor Tony Hines, head of food security ad crisis management at Leatherhead Food Research.

“It’s awareness of fraud, our ability to horizon-scan around the world and risk mitigation and brand protection strategies,” ​said Hines.

The crisis had also highlighted the importance of customer re-assurance and thinking more clearly about the “known unknown risks”​ to food and drink supply chains, he added.

Watch out for more reports from the horsemeat webinar – sponsored by DWF – next week.

Or, you can listen again to the presentations and the following question and answer session here​.

Meanwhile, Food Manufacture’s​ Food Safety Conference, ‘What have we learnt from recent crises?’ takes place on Thursday October 17 2013 at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, West Midlands.

More details about the conference  –  to  be chaired by Professor Colin Dennis, former president of the Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST) –  are available here.

How the horsemeat crisis could benefit the food industry

  • Awareness of the need to secure food supply chains, plus a greater understanding of the food industry: Andrew Rhodes.
  • Realisation that responsibility for food safety and quality lies not just with retailers and manufacturers but is shared by everyone: Hilary Ross.
  • Greater interest and trust in British food: Kiti Soininen.
  • Greater awareness of food and drink fraud and our ability to adopt risk mitigation and brand protection strategies: Professor Tony Hines

Source: Food Manufacture’s ​webinar Horsemeat – learning the lessons of an avoidable crisis.

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3 comments

Horsemeat fiasco

Posted by Alan Grier,

If the multiples did not put so much pressure on their suppliers to produce an article at a certain price this could have been avoided.

Fraud gives some suppliers an unfair advantage price-wise. From that point of view, I hope the people involved will go through the courts. But unfortunately that won't happen.

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labelling

Posted by j osmani,

A shame you didn't bring up the lack of labelling on ritually slaughtered, discarded meat everywhere.

Most companies which were involved in this seem crisis seem to have some sort of halal certification or compliance.

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Proper labelling

Posted by Lloyd Watkin,

There is still no mention of proper labelling of meat details.

We have meat codes on packaging but no details about the method of slaughter.

I, for one, would like to see all ritually slaughtered meat (be it halal, kosher etc) labelled as ritually slaughtered. That would be regardless of whether it achieved such certification.

Then, as a consumer, I can make an informed choice about my purchases.

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