>>THE ISSUES THAT MATTER, FROM THE PEOPLE INVOLVED
When the Sudan 1 crisis kicked off in February, we raised a few eyebrows in the industry by warning that it would be the tip of a very big iceberg. Since then, we have been proved absolutely right - although we take no comfort from that fact; nor the fact that the industry has been placed on red alert as more illegal dyes have appeared.
As we explain in our special report on page 30, the advice given by the Food Standards Agency this week is an important step forwards for an industry trying to get to grips with this massive problem. The fact that there is a more constructive dialogue now taking place between the FSA and industry is another welcome development - as is the creation of a taskforce to look into the issues around food contamination.
But I would argue - yet again - that having the right procedures in place to spot this stuff in foods and food ingredients is only part of the solution.
If manufacturers have learned anything from the events of the past three months, it is surely that they must now redouble their efforts to prevent contaminants getting into their supply chain in the first place. And that means a further tightening of their sourcing procedures.
I accept that’s not going to be easy - particularly for those dealing with the global spice trade. Yet there is no choice. What’s the point in testing for Sudan 1 and Para Red, when you have bought a spice dyed with Orange II or Rhodamine B? Discover that contamination too late, and you end up dealing with more product recalls.
Given the huge emphasis now placed on traceability, such things should be a thing of the past. The fact they are not means the industry must do more to tackle this problem at source. Before some real damage is done.
As we reported last week, 82% of independents think its worth their while offering the national lottery in their store. Understandable, really, as the lottery generates good footfall, offers an OK margin, and ticket sales are holding up pretty well. But retailers could soon find their share of the Lottery business being squeezed as operator Camelot looks to boosts sales via new channels to the consumer. That will inevitably mean less profit for the very people who have made the Lottery such a success. Given that Camelot is preparing to bid for a third Lottery licence, wouldn’t this be an ideal time for retailers to start lobbying for an improved margin on ticket sales?
the price of success