Notes on a horsemeat scandal: Environmental health charity welcomes food fraud report but has budget cut concerns

An environmental health charity has cautiously welcomed a report investigating food crime following the horsemeat scandal, but remains concerned about government budget cuts.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) supports the Elliott Review but is concerned that local government lacks the funds to eradicate food fraud.

The review outlines a set of recommendations which aims to protect consumers from fraudsters and improve the current food supply networks after 10million burgers were stripped from supermarket shelves last year.

CIEH chief executive, Graham Jukes, OBE said: “There is a clear need for specialist support in tackling food crime and the CIEH agrees with Professor Elliott’s recommendation that a national Food Crime Unit be established.

“The new National Environmental Health Board chaired by Lord Rooker, former Chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), working with the CIEH, can support coordinated action on the ground.”

While the charity agrees that food crime is a risk to public health there are growing concerns that ongoing cuts will hinder the effectiveness of local government in supporting this issue.

Mr Jukes added: “Given the reduction in resources at a local level it is essential that this support increases and that there is clear leadership in tackling food crime.

“The CIEH is a well-placed organisation to drive this and looks forward to contributing to the fight against food crime.”

Principal policy officer, Jenny Morris, MBE said: “A key theme throughout the report is the need for professional collaboration and partnerships if criminals are to be defeated.

“This means sharing knowledge and skills and developing trust across sectors.”

Picture courtesy of Anthony Albright, with thanks

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