The next big horsemeat style scandal is “a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode” unless the food industry works together to prevent it, Danone’s corporate quality general control manager and chairman of the Global Food Safety Initiative Yves Rey has warned.

Speaking at the Global Food Safety Conference in Barcelona, Rey said: “Right now we are facing a pressing need to move further along the road of food safety improvement. Consumer trust is the worst it has ever been and the horsemeat scandal doesn’t help.

“The food system is so complex that we know the next big outbreak is right around the corner” - Yves Rey

“The global population is growing and the supply chain is more complicated than ever. With beef, from the slaughterhouse to the consumer there are nine middle men. The food system is so complex that we know the next big outbreak is right around the corner. We must work together and prevent it.”

His comments were echoed by Mike Robach, VP of corporate food safety and regulatory affairs at US food processing giant Cargill, who said: “Economically motivated adulteration is the next thing. We are seeing it more and more. How many of you have had ground beef in the UK recently? How much of it had horse in it?

“These things happen and they are going to happen more and more as we have economic pressures on the market place. People are going to be looking for ways [to save money]. And all of this adds up to consumer trust being at its lowest point. The consumer doesn’t know what to believe or who to trust and, as the food safety community, we all have a role to play there.”

The Global Food Safety Conference was organised by the Consumer Goods Forum and attended by delegates worldwide, including the US, China and Europe.