UK at risk of another ‘horsegate’ scandal warns top expert

The UK is at risk of another ‘horsegate’ scandal similar to the one in 2013 which may have been responsible for up to 50,000 horses disappearing from across Europe, according to the country’s top food fraud expert.

Professor Chris ElliottProfessor Chris Elliott, who was appointed by the government to investigate the horsemeat scandal and food fraud in the UK, warned that unless the issue was taken seriously by authorities and the police, it was likely to happen again.

Speaking at a conference looking into food fraud this September, the professor said that:

  • Food fraud is an organised and global criminal enterprise involving gangs such as the Mafia and the Central American drug cartels
  • Up to 50,000 horses ‘disappeared’ from Europe during the financial meltdown which started around 2008.  People could no longer afford to keep them – and it’s probable a lot of these horses ended up in our food supply system
  • The 2013 horsegate scandal was a close call as there was little direct threat to public health, but next time we may not be so lucky

The professor, who is Director of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast, issued the warning at the Fighting Food Fraud conference in Doncaster on 17 September 2015, hosted by Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (‘HABC’), one of the UK’s leading exam boards.

Professor Elliott said, ‘2013 was a wake-up call for the UK.  While there was no direct evidence of a threat to public health, there have been food fraud scandals in other countries that have affected thousands – and in some cases hundreds of thousands – of people.   In China in 2008, over 300,000 infants were made ill by adulterated milk, with six sadly dying.  With organised gangs becoming attracted in to food fraud, we must act now to prevent public health threats. The idea that 50,000 horses could just disappear may seem incredible to some, but the scale at which some of these gangs can operate is huge.  Wherever there is money to be made – and the sums involved in food fraud are in the billions – criminals will find a way’.

He added, ‘The establishment of the National Food Crime Unit by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is a good first step and having spoken to its head, Andy Morling, I am hopeful that we can begin to tackle the issue and better protect the public.  The only way we can succeed is for everyone, from farmers and producers to retailers and the authorities, to work together to improve the tracking and auditing of our food supply chain’.

The Elliott Review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply Networks –Final Report: A National Food Crime Prevention Framework can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/350726/elliot-review-final-report-july2014.pdf

For further information on Highfield, go to www.highfieldqualifications.com

To find out how we stack up against our competitors for end-point assessment, simply visit here.

ENDS
Notes to editors:

  1. Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (‘HABC’) is one of the UK’s leading awarding organisations, offering over 200 qualifications covering a wide variety of industries including food safety, customer service, health and safety, licensing, security, stewarding, retail, logistics, catering and hospitality.
  2. The Fighting Food Fraud conference took place at Doncaster Racecourse on 17 September 2015, and featured presentations from Professor Chris Elliott (Director of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast), Andy Morling (Head of the National Food Crime Unit, FSA) and John Figgins (Technical Specialist, British Retail Consortium).

Food fraud event targets Yorkshire and the Humber

Food FraudFood producers, retailers and caterers across Yorkshire and the Humber will get the chance to learn more about food fraud and how to combat it at a major conference to be held in the region this September.

The Fighting Food Fraud conference, held at Doncaster Racecourse on 17 September 2015, will feature Professor Chris Elliott, author of the Elliott Review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply Networks – the UK government’s report into the horsemeat scandal of 2013 – and will look at how businesses can best protect the public and themselves.

Professor Elliott will be joined by Andy Morling, the recently appointed head of the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food Crime Unit, who will discuss its role and impact so far, plus John Figgins, BRC Technical Specialist, who will provide an insight into compliance with newly issued food safety standards.

According to the National Guidance Research Forum at the Warwick Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick, the food sector in Yorkshire and the Humber is estimated to be worth over £7 billion a year and employ over 52,000 people.  Employment in the region is concentrated in North Yorkshire (20%), NE Lincolnshire (10%), Hull (8%), Wakefield (8%) and Leeds (7%).

Professor Elliott said, ‘Food fraud has fast become one of the key issues for the food industry.  From suppliers such as farms and abattoirs, to manufacturers, packagers and supermarkets, even to caterers, restaurants and licensed premises – every business in the chain is affected by food fraud and the negative effect it has upon consumer confidence.  It is up to businesses to understand the types of food fraud and its indicators, its penalties and consequences, and why protecting the wider food industry begins with businesses informing and protecting themselves’.

The conference, which is expected to attract leading food safety specialists from some of the UK’s biggest retailers, caterers and manufacturers, is being organised by Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC), one of the UK’s leading exam boards.

Tickets cost £170 plus VAT, or £130 plus VAT for HABC members.

To book your place, phone 0845 2260350 or email info@highfield.co.uk For more information, go to www.highfieldqualifications.com

ENDS
Notes to editors:

  1. Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (‘HABC’) is one of the UK’s leading awarding organisations, offering over 200 qualifications covering a wide variety of industries including food safety, customer service, health and safety, licensing, security, stewarding, retail, logistics, catering and hospitality.

National food safety conference this September for Doncaster

Some of the UK’s top experts will be descending on Doncaster this September for a national food safety conference to tackle the issue of food fraud.

National Food Safety ConferenceFighting Food Fraud, held at Doncaster Racecourse on 17 September 2015, will feature Professor Chris Elliott, author of the Elliott Review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply Networks – the UK government’s report into the horsemeat scandal of 2013 – and will look at how businesses can best protect the public and themselves.

Professor Elliott will be joined by Andy Morling, the recently appointed head of the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food Crime Unit, who will discuss its role and impact so far, plus John Figgins, BRC Technical Specialist, who will provide an insight into compliance with newly issued food safety standards.

The conference, which is expected to attract over 100 leading food safety specialists from some of the UK’s biggest retailers, caterers and manufacturers, is being organised by the Doncaster-based Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC), one of the UK’s leading awarding organisations.

Professor Elliott said, ‘Food fraud has fast become one of the key issues for the food industry. From suppliers such as farms and abattoirs, to manufacturers, packagers and supermarkets, even to caterers, restaurants and licensed premises – every business in the chain is affected by food fraud and the negative effect it has upon consumer confidence. It is up to businesses to understand the types of food fraud and its indicators, its penalties and consequences, and why protecting the wider food industry begins with businesses informing and protecting themselves’.

Nikki Griffiths, Director of Sales at Doncaster Racecourse said, ‘We are very happy to be welcoming HABC to Doncaster racecourse to hold the Fighting Food Fraud Conference in September, and we are hoping this is the start of a series of events held here for HABC’.

Tickets cost £170 plus VAT, or £130 plus VAT for HABC members.

To book your place, phone 0845 2260350 or email info@highfieldabc.com For more information, go to www.highfieldabc.

ENDS
Notes to editors:
1. Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) is one of the UK’s leading awarding organisations, offering over 200 qualifications covering a wide variety of industries including food safety, customer service, health and safety, licensing, security, stewarding, retail, logistics, catering and hospitality.

PRESS RELEASE: Professor Elliott to warn businesses at food fraud conference

Professor Chris ElliottUK food businesses must take up the fight against food fraud or face another scandal – that will be the stark warning from one of the UK’s top experts at a conference this autumn.

Professor Chris Elliott will tell delegates at the Fighting Food Fraud conference on 17 September 2015, Doncaster, that the fight has only just begun and can only be won with a coordinated effort.

The Professor, who was author of the government’s report into the 2013 food fraud scandal, The Elliott Review, and is Director of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast, will address the challenges posed by the review and look at how businesses can best protect themselves whilst maintaining supply chain integrity and food authenticity.

Professor Elliott said, ‘Food fraud has fast become one of the key issues for the food industry. From suppliers such as farms and abattoirs, to manufacturers, packagers and supermarkets, even to caterers, restaurants and licensed premises – every business in the chain is affected by food fraud and the negative effect it has upon consumer confidence. It is up to businesses to understand the types of food fraud and its indicators, its penalties and consequences, and why protecting the wider food industry begins with businesses informing and protecting themselves’.

He will be joined by Andy Morling, the recently appointed head of the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food Crime Unit, who will discuss the role of the unit and its impact so far plus John Figgins, BRC Technical Specialist, who will provide an insight into compliance with issue 7 of the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety.

The conference is being organised by Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC), one of the UK’s leading awarding organisations for food safety qualifications. Richard Sprenger, HABC Chairman and author of Hygiene for Management and the Food Safety Handbook, said, ‘Food authenticity has come under close scrutiny recently from food retailers, manufacturers and consumers. Food law enforcement must be delivered effectively so that consumers can have confidence in the food they eat. With ongoing work to identify potential food fraud, this has fast become a key topic within the food safety industry’.

The conference takes place at Doncaster Racecourse on 17 September 2015. Tickets cost £170 plus VAT (£130 plus VAT for HABC Centres).

To book your place, phone 0845 2260350 or email info@highfield.co.uk

ENDS
Notes to editors:
1. Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (‘HABC’) is one of the UK’s leading Awarding Organisations, offering over 200 qualifications covering a wide variety of industries including food safety, customer service, health and safety, licensing, security, stewarding, retail, logistics, catering and hospitality.

Professor Elliott to speak at fighting food fraud event

Fighting Food FraudHABC is launching the first in a series of specialised food safety events, giving food sector professionals the tools they need to fight food fraud.

Taking up the challenges posed by the Elliott Review, Fighting Food Fraud is aimed at food safety, environmental health, trading standards professionals, practitioners and educators, and will feature some of the world’s top experts including Professor Chris Elliott himself.

Held at Doncaster Racecourse on 17 September 2015, the event will help food safety and enforcement professionals understand more about the threat food fraud poses to the UK, the recent scandals involving food supply and sourcing, and identifying emerging risks.

Key topics covered will also include:

  • An overview of food fraud and The Elliott Review
  • Types of food fraud and indicators for fraud
  • Supply chain integrity and food authenticity
  • How industry needs to protect itself and what progress has been made so far
  • The role of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Food Crime Unit, plus an update
  • Penalties and consequences
  • Food crime intelligence.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to discuss the new Issue 7 of the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, released in January 2015 and which will commence from July 2015. This session will guide delegates through the content of the new Standard and give some guidance with regard to compliance with the new requirements.

Guest speakers confirmed for Fighting Food Fraud include:

  • Professor Chris Elliott, Professor of Food Safety and Director of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast
  • Andy Morling, Head of Food Crime at the FSA
  • John Figgins, BRC Technical Specialist – Food.

Richard Sprenger, HABC Chairman, said, ‘Food authenticity has become under close scrutiny recently from food retailers, manufacturers and consumers. Food law enforcement must be delivered effectively so that consumers can have confidence in the food they eat. With ongoing work to identify potential food fraud this has fast become a key topic within the food safety industry’.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to discuss issues and network with the speaker panel in our Q&A session.

Lunch, refreshments and CPD certificate are all included in the price.

CPD
Attendance at this event entitles you to 6 CPD points.

Who should attend?
Anyone interested in food safety including professionals, practitioners and educators in:

  • Food safety
  • Environmental health
  • Trading standards.

Cost/Book Now

  • HABC Centre: £130 + VAT
  • Non-HABC Centre: £170 + VAT

*limited places and subject to availability.

If you are a training centre, please select here to book your place(s). Students wishing to attend this event must submit their enquiry to shoulbrook@highfieldabc.com

Promotional Opportunities
If you are interested in promoting your business at our event then we can provide marketing opportunities to suit your budget, with prices starting from £99 + VAT.

Exhibitor spaces will be positioned within the networking area and places are still available. Exhibition spaces available from £300 + VAT.

To become a sponsor/exhibitor, please submit your enquiry to shoulbrook@highfieldabc.com

To join the Highfield Food Safety Forum on LinkedIn where this event will be regularly discussed, please visit here.