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National Audit Office Voices Concerns Over Food Fraud
In the wake of the horse meat scandal the National Audit Office (NAO) is concerned that it is more difficult than ever to tell what is in the nation’s foodstuffs because of long, complicated international supply chains. The warning comes at the same time as Irish authorities found a ready made pizza containing 35 ingredients from 60 different countries. The product though was marked ‘country of origin Ireland’.
In 2012 there were 1,380 reported cases of food fraud, up by 66% in two years. In contrast the total number of food samples tested through official controls has dropped by a quarter since 2009-10. Andrew Foster from the Trading Standards Institute has little doubt why the drop has occurred. “We’ve lost a third of our inspectorate and talking to colleagues recently they are expecting to slash by a further 60% in some cases,” he said.
A recent survey of UK shoppers revealed that only 12% of the public felt they knew ?quite a lot? about the origin of their food with 80% of those questioned believing food companies should know the origin of every ingredient. Food Standards Agency Chief Operating Officer Andrew Rhodes isn?t surprised by the public’s response to January?s horse meat headlines saying; “The incident is one that has really raised the public awareness about authenticity and about thinking what is in your food.”