Food Contamination - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Contents

1  Introduction

Our inquiry

1. In February 2013 we published our Report into Contamination of Beef Products.[1] This focused on the discovery of horse and pig DNA in a number of frozen and processed beef products on sale in the UK market and the Government's response to these findings. Our Report also made a number of recommendations in respect of the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Since then, further testing has revealed more incidents of contamination in the UK as well as in other EU Member States.

2. In its reply to that Report in April the Government said its response had been swift and effective in putting in place a testing regime for industry and local government. It had also informed the EU authorities promptly and recommended a European response. The Government said it would consider a number of our recommendations about the FSA and that it was committed to "learning the lessons from the incident, and to make any changes that are needed to reinforce the integrity of the food chain."[2]

3. We decided to produce a second Report, once UK and EU testing programmes were complete and the full extent of the contamination was known, with the intention of exploring the capacity of the relevant UK authorities to respond to major incidents such as these. This Report focuses on developments since April 2013 including the interim findings of the independent review of the FSA's response to the crisis[3] and the forthcoming review of food supply networks announced by the Government on 4 June.[4]

4. We held five additional evidence sessions with Local Government Association, British Meat Producers Association (BMPA), ABP Food Group, Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), Association of Public Analysts (APA), FSA, Freeza Meats, European Commission and the Minister for Agriculture and Food, David Heath, MP. We are grateful to all who have contributed to our inquiry.

1   Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Eighth Report of Session 2012-13, Contamination of Beef Products, HC 946.  Back

2   Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Seventh Special Report of Session 2012-13, Contamination of Beef Products: Government Response to the Committee's Eighth Report of Session 2012-13, HC 1085 Back

3 Back

4   Hansard, 4 June 2013, 92WS Back

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Prepared 16 July 2013