Sir: Last year’s horsemeat scandal was deliberate fraud. It’s impossible to test everything, so we rely on documentation. Sadly, it’s easy to falsify documents and people in the supply chain have been trained to rely solely on documentation as proof that results are genuine. That’s partly why Horsegate was possible.
It also highlighted the fact that retailers may not have appreciated the scale of the risk. However, their response has been positive – they’re doing more testing, simplifying their supply chains and better monitoring supplier premises and information. This gives more confidence to consumers that what they’re being told is in their products is actually there.
But consumers rely on product label information, so supermarkets need to focus on making sure that this information is correct and presented in a customer friendly format. Focus post-Horsegate has been upstream in the supply chain but that’s invisible to consumers. The best way to communicate a positive message is actually through clear and concise labelling. The new labelling rules from Europe could be used to create a significant improvement in the clarity of labelling, and that will go a long way towards restoring consumer confidence.
Phil Dalton, head of regulatory, Legal Impackt