The British Retail Consortium has today welcomed the interim Elliott Review into the integrity and assurance of food supply networks, saying that the report acknowledges that the UK supply chain is fundamentally robust but sets out some useful recommendations for addressing any areas of weakness and criminal behaviour.
British Retail Consortium director general, Helen Dickinson, said: “The report is an important and thorough contribution to the review of supply chains. We are pleased Professor Elliott makes it clear UK supply chains are amongst the safest in the world and that he is addressing the specific issue of food crime, an issue that warrants serious attention. We absolutely share his focus on consumer confidence; it is at the heart of all retailers’ businesses.
“Major retailers and the BRC have been addressing many of the issues raised in his report since the horsemeat incident, building on existing controls on safety to deal with issues of fraud. Retailers have reviewed and revised their supply chains, improved the way they audit their suppliers, targeted testing and worked with the BRC and industry partners to improve the exchange of intelligence.
“The BRC has reviewed its food certification scheme to account for issues raised in the incident. It already offers unannounced audits as well as a scheme covering distribution but will add to these a certified scheme for agents and brokers in the New Year. We look forward to working with professor Elliott on the implementation of this new scheme and continued delivery of the storage and distribution standard.
“We know the importance of intelligence in tackling fraud and have consistently pushed the Government to improve the flow of information in Europe. We welcome the Professor’s comments on ensuring information flows from industry whilst preserving commercial confidence and are examining the best mechanism for providing that to the FSA.
“We also welcome the professor’s comments on increasing the Government focus on food fraud. We certainly don’t see it as a victimless crime and look forward to new proposals to target criminals.”