NO-ONE IN the industry wants to find equine DNA in their lasagnes or burgers again, but the issue hasn’t gone away. One might think the government feels differently.
In December, Professor Chris Elliott published his interim report on the “integrity and assurance of food supply networks”.
At 84 pages it was thorough and included 48 recommendations, among them the development of a new food crime unit. “The food industry and thus consumers are currently vulnerable,” he wrote. “Our common aim must be to regain and enhance public trust.”
But that can wait, it seems. For there are suggestions that Prof Elliott’s final report is so good that it’s been buried in a freezer somewhere in Whitehall, alongside the burgers. The professor’s report was due in spring but a DEFRA spokeswoman said: “We are waiting to get the final report from Prof Elliott and look forward to his advice”. So, it’s him delaying things, is it? “I know he’s done a very thorough job,” she added.
This doesn’t quite match comments made by the man himself at a conference in London in May when he appeared to suggest it was already finished: “The thing I am looking forward to now is finding a beach.” Hopefully someone in Whitehall can find the report before he’s packed his Speedos and started thinking of pina coladas. After all, there’s about £20 billion of food fraud to combat.