The government’s review into the horsemeat scandal will be chaired by Professor Chris Elliott of Queen’s University, Belfast.
His appointment was announced in a written statement by Defra secretary of state Owen Paterson to the House of Commons today.
Elliott is a professor at the university’s school of biological sciences, and helped launch its new Institute for Global Food Safety in March this year, of which he is the director.
He has made a number of media appearances in connection with the horsemeat scandal, and has commented on its implications for food supply chains.
Paterson said the government’s review would examine the integrity and assurance of food supply networks, and assess the implications of the horsemeat scandal for the food chain and regulators. In addition, Elliott would provide advice to government more generally on “issues which impact upon consumer confidence in the authenticity of food products and any systemic failure in food supply networks which could have implications for food safety and public health”.
“We expect him to make recommendations to support improvements in current systems and to improve consumer confidence.”
The review would kick off “shortly” and would take nine to 12 months to complete, Paterson said. Interim advice will be provided to Defra in December, with the final report to be published in spring 2013. “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 government’s appointment of Elliott comes as Professor Pat Troop, who is heading up a separate review into the horsemeat scandal and the Food Standards Agency’s response to it, is due to share her initial findings at the FSA’s board meeting later today.