chris elilott

Food Standards Agency chiefs claim they have carried out - or are on track to carry out - most recommendations they were asked to in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

A report published ahead of the FSA board meeting on 28 January outlines progress made in implementing recommendations of post-Horsegate reviews by Professors Pat Troop, Christopher Elliott and Jim Scudamore. It claims 46 out of 75 are on track, with 21 completed or closed. The FSA said it would meet all recommendations, though it admitted eight were running behind schedule.

In the report, FSA policy director Steve Wearne said one of the key recommendations - for the FSA to establish an intelligence hub in government to receive and share information - had been completed, and a head of intelligence appointed.

A “programme of engagement with key partners” continued, raising the FSA’s profile and ­generating support for the intelligence hub.

The report also stated the FSA food crime unit was “fully operational,” though a spokesman admitted it was still in the process of recruiting staff, having filled 27 out of a total of 36 roles.

Speaking after the publication of the report, review author Chris Elliott said: “Overall the progress update seems very positive. I said it would probably take several years for the food crime unit to be fully operational and my opinion hasn’t changed on this. Efforts to share information and intelligence are also very positive and have further scope to be enhanced.”

But Stephen Rossides, director of the British Meat Processors Asso­ciation, said he was not clear on how the FSA would share intelligence. “Apart from saying to industry ‘tell us anything you know or suspect,’ I’m not aware of intelligence gathering processes that actively engage industry,” he said.