Lab testing

Chris Elliott has said the Efra committee should take on a monitoring role

The Efra committee of MPs should take on a monitoring role to keep tabs on commitments made by government, retailers and suppliers post-Horsegate, Professor Chris Elliott has recommended.

Elliott, who published his review into the UK food chain in December, floated the suggestion at a Westminster Forum debate this week. He later told The Grocer he felt Efra – which conducted a number of horsemeat-related evidence sessions – had the right expertise to keep an eye on commitments made in the wake of Horsegate.

“I feel that they would be in a good position to scrutinise the progress of implementation of the recommendations in my review,” he said. “They have expertise in this area, understand the issues and are independent of government and industry.”

Efra does not have formal powers to monitor commitments and any arrangement would therefore be informal.

Elliott also stressed that although he had discussed his proposal with Efra, “it is not for me to decide whether or not they take this forward”.

A spokeswoman for Efra reiterated it had no formal powers to monitor the industry, but said it would keep a “watching brief” on commitments made post-Horsegate.

In his interim report, Elliott recommended the Lords science committee take on a monitoring role as far as progress of public-sector laboratory provisions was concerned. This recommendation was questioned by Efra chair Anne McIntosh during Efra’s session with Elliott in January, when she said “obviously we are very proud of the work that this committee has done on this subject matter”.

A spokesman for Elliott said the recommendation regarding the science committee was specific to public laboratory provision and therefore not affected by his recommendation regarding Efra’s potential monitoring role on wider post-Horsegate issues.