Business Leaders' Forum

Horsemeat crisis adds to food firms’ audit costs

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Mergers and acquisitions

Food manufacturers are facing greatly increased audit costs, as a direct consequence of the horsemeat crisis, Richard Clothier, md of Wyke Farms, told the Business Leaders’ Forum earlier this month.

“One of the biggest problems has been the loss of trust between manufacturers and retailers and the growth of accreditation schemes – which have added an awful lot of costs to food businesses,”​ said Clothier.

British Retail Consortium audits are no longer trusted, said Clothier in this exclusive video interview, filmed at the offices of event partner Stephenson Harwood in London last week (January 21).

Extra costs

The extra costs were a particular burden for small-scale and medium-sized businesses, he added.

Food industry mergers and acquisitions were a key topic of discussion at the forum. Read more here​.

The Business Leaders’ Forum, – chaired by Thorntons’ chairman Paul Wilkinson​ – was staged in association with Stephenson Harwood and sponsored by Agrantec, Intertek, Tata Consultancy, plus insurance firm Aon, Columbus IT and NSF International.

Meanwhile, Clothier is taking part in one of four Big Video Debates to be staged on Monday March 24 and Tuesday Mar 25 at the Foodex trade event at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. The Wyke Farms boss will be joining Black Farmer entrepreneur Wilfred Emmanuel Jones in the debate Social Media – threat or opportunity for food and drink manufacturers.

To reserve your place at this free event, email​.

Other Big Video Debates will include: Horsemeat: Could it happen again, Plugging the food and drink industry skills gap and the challenges of lean manufacturing. 

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Food Fraud

Posted by Jeremy Chamberlain,

The loss of trust between retailers and manufacturers over food safety and food fraud is of great concern to all, especially the consumers who will inevitably end up paying the cost of the extra resource required.
Adulteration of meat with different species is only the tip of the iceberg, with serous doubts already in place about the fish and honey industries there is another tabloid scandal waitng to happen.
Rather than waiting for government action, it is down to the food industry to self-regulate, and for all persons passionate about food to prove transparency.
Third party auditing can provide this, if the standard and certification bodies are reputable and have the full support of the retailers.
The retailers need to engage with the BRC to create a standard that will meet the requirements of all parties - manufacturers, reatilers and consumers - proportionate to the risk of the product being produced.

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Posted by Richard Bradford-Knox,

It seems that the horsemeat crisis has produced such an over-the-top reaction. Particulary as it was not found to be a food safety issue. It did indicate a breakdown in the traceability system in the meat industry and that is the area that should be investigated. Why retailers and suppliers were not checking on the integrity of their suppliers and sources is a mystery. Cases of outright fraud or deception should be prosecuted. It does seem to suggest that certain bodies are using the horsemeat issue as an excuse to increase charges and costs. The approach that is needed is increased vigilence in inspecting and auditng of approved meat premises by the FSA and DEFRA along the food chain, however long or short. However if the more serious cases in the past. i.e. the E.coli outbreak in Wales in 2005, BSE, etc. have not improved the safety of our food, what does it take to improve the situation? Isn't more robust action by the industry and government focused on where the problems lie needed, rather than what appears to be a shotgun approach?

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