Consumer trust is a fragile thing. Horsegate may seem a long time ago, but it doesn’t take much to reignite public concern about the safety and quality of food.
After a week of heated debate about hygiene standards and campylobacter, the poultry industry will know this all too well.
The campylobacter coverage over the past week will have left many consumers with questions about the food they buy, no matter the good work happening across the supply chain.
And, as 2 Sisters CEO Ranjit Singh and the FSA’s Catherine Brown argue persuasively in two exclusive articles for us this week, significant progress and investment in tackling campylobacter is happening - although it’s equally true to say much work remains to be done.
“If the government thinks it is doing the food industry a favour by keeping Elliott’s food fraud report out of the limelight, it is seriously mistaken”
Julia Glotz, managing editor
The vagaries of consumer trust make it all the more important that Professor Elliott’s report on food fraud is finally allowed to see the light of day. Initially expected in the spring, it has been delayed so much that many are wondering if the government wants to kick it into the long grass. We can reveal this week it has now been scheduled for 4 September.
With a general election just around the corner, it’s perhaps no surprise there hasn’t been much appetite for a hard-hitting report on the subject of food crime. And the recent personnel changes at Defra are a legitimate reason not to publish before the recess - though it’s worth pointing out the report was already running late before the reshuffle.
But if the government thinks it’s doing the food industry a favour by keeping Elliott’s report out of the limelight, it is seriously mistaken. Publication would offer an opportunity to talk about the many positive changes made post-Horsegate - further delays will only prompt questions about why the report is being held back. There’s even a risk consumers will think the delays are the result of push-back from industry - not the case, as we know from our conversations with and .
To avoid any further knocks to consumer trust, it is therefore imperative that the 4 September publication date now stands. There must be no further delays.