Supply chain bosses react to new horsemeat scandal

Supply chain bosses have spoken out after the Food Standards Agency announced that a batch of canned sliced beef found to contain horse DNA has been withdrawn from sale at Home Bargains and Quality Save stores in the UK.

Horse meat is not identified in the ingredients list of the product, which was manufactured in Romania in at the start of this year. The presence of horse DNA in the 320g packs, which are described on the label as ‘Food Hall Sliced Beef in Rich Gravy’, was detected during routine testing carried out by Lincolnshire County Council trading standards officers.

The retailers in question have withdrew the affected product lines instantly, but supply chain bosses have called for more industry collaboration after this food scare follows similar revelations that impacted the wider UK retail sector earlier this year.

John Bailey, European vice-president at supply chain software and services provider JDA, said: “This again highlights a lack of visibility across an extended network of suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and producers. What is most worrying is the number of ‘blind spots’ that seem to currently exist.

“Shockingly it has again allowed the illegal substitution of horse meat in the food supply chain to occur and continue unchecked. Retailers must insist that everyone in the supply chain – not only their suppliers but also their suppliers’ suppliers – collaborate in order to understand where and how meat products are coming into the supply chain from farm to fork. Only through stricter auditing can incongruences or inconsistencies to be identified, investigated and addressed.”

Nick Martin, senior vice-president for Northern Europe at Trace One Traceability and product recall specialists Trace One, added: “This latest news from the FSA of horsemeat being discovered in canned beef from a Romanian manufacturer, shows that the effect of the horsemeat scandal is ongoing and wider reaching than originally anticipated.

“While Home Bargains and Quality Save stores have acted swiftly, ensuring that all relevant goods are removed from the shelves, contamination of food products is an issue that retailers and their suppliers will never be free from. The reality is that retailers cannot monitor every possible ingredient at every stage of its journey.

“In order to ensure the sanctity of the products on their shelves retailers must be able to undertake fast, comprehensive recalls of goods that may have been affected, thereby safeguarding their reputation and limiting consumer damage.”

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