The risk of criminal activity in the UK food chain is now so great that a dedicated new food crime unit should be set up with investigatory powers similar to the police to deal with it, according to a government report launched in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.Yes, of course. What could possibly go wrong?
The interim report argues that food crime consists of deliberate organised activity by networks of criminals rather than a few random acts by "rogues" within the food industry. It catalogues a series of ways that organised criminals are able to make huge profits from the food chain due to inadequate enforcement of regulations such as labelling.I suppose suggesting that we simply start enforcing those existing regulations is too simple?
Also confusion over competing rights and equality legislation, rigid application of ‘weapons policies’, prosecution via hindsight and justice system intransigence.
.. a dedicated new food crime unit should be set up ..
I thought we were supposed to be doing away with quangos, not setting up more of the bloody things.
I suppose suggesting that we simply start enforcing those existing regulations is too simple?
Well, while there are as many loopholes in the regulations as meteorites in the solar system, that may be a little more difficult than it seems - of course, we could just ban imports of meat full stop, the UK's Farmers would love it! although I don't see the Supermarkets being overjoyed about it.
The simplest way to put an end to questionable imported meat products would be for us consumers to just stop buying it - but again this is harder than it looks, not because the labelling is confusing - because 99% of people filling their trolleys at the "fresh" meat counter don't even bother to look at the labelling and buy on price alone.
I watched something on the idiot lantern about this over the weekend - the guy interviewed was supposedly some senior bod in the the food inspectorate (or whatever it's currently called) and was being ever so careful not to point fingers in anybody's particular direction. The meat trade (in my opinion at least) has been a hotbed of corruption and dodgy dealing since time began.
As if austerity Britain isn't already spending too much here come another group of funding starved bureaucrats and "experts" blagging for funding.
Nice work if you can get it. Perhaps since money is so (apparently) tight we should convert the cost of this caper into either cancer or maternity wards and ask these people to select the ones which need to be closed so that we can release the funding for this 'desperately needed initiative'
I imagine this will make an excellent television police show.
"Book 'im Danno, excessive trans fats in fairy cake ONE!"
Many a true word spoken in jest my friend :0/
Most of the board at the National Beef Association have been involved in market trading of meat, mainly auctioning bags of meat from back of trailers ,i once got a half a pig some brass horse shoes and a pair of china shire horses from big bill's trailer for £20, mind you most of the money seen changing hands never got exchanged for meat.
I often wondered why his sisters and daughters were taking part in the auction!
Is that the same Professor Chris Elliott, from Queen's Institute for Global Food Security asking for this new unit on erm.... food security?
I wonder who he had in mind to set up and lead this new organisation?
The problem only became a serious one after the EU took over competency on food standards. The EU introduced a paper trail system that they said was fool proof so everybody relaxed their policing of food standards. As with most things done by the EU and governments the outcomes are never what they say they will be and inevitably things are made worse as in this instance.
Read Richard North on the Horse Meat scandal. Its predominantly down to the replacement of a homegrown UK regulatory system with an EU wide one. The former being reliant more on practical inspection, with inspectors based in factories, and the latter a more paperwork based one. Thus rather than have a person in a food factory inspecting delivered meat, and using their experience to determine if there's malpractice at work, you now have a tick box mentality, whereby if the paperwork says you've just had a lorry load of beef delivered, then you have, regardless of whether its actually horse. And this opens up the possibility for systemic fraud - if you can take meat that isn't supposed to be in the food chain, and provide it with the 'correct' paperwork, then there's £££ to be made. And criminal gangs have moved into this new money making enterprise.
As Jim says the replacement of a skilled person with a tick box approach, responsible for so many of today's disasters. Sounds like an NHS direct diagnosis.
I would like to concur with both Antisthenes and Jim. Problem is, even if you do set up another Quango/jobs for the Boys, if the paperwork is in order, you cannot do anything. Plus, much of this problem occurs in other countries. Unless this proposed new agency can get to those in foreign countries, which we all know they won't, this is just another expensive department we can do without. Also, we must not rule out inter-departmental turf wars. The police and other agencies and departments will not take kindly on some new kid on the block. They will spend more time fighting each other than tackling the problem.
I 100% agree with you, having seen my mother put through the NHS mill recently. Will not go into details over her 5-6 week ordeal, but will just say I too noticed the 'box-tick' mentality. Little or no care, juts make sure you tick the right box and fill in the right for so we do not get sued culture.
Thanks New Labour - C***'S
XX It catalogues a series of ways that organised criminals are able to make huge profits from the food chain due to inadequate enforcement of regulations such as labelling.
And of COURSE the removal of "labeling" from cigarette packets will have NO such effect....right?
"I thought we were supposed to be doing away with quangos..."
Another election promise down the drain... :/
"I imagine this will make an excellent television police show."
"I often wondered why his sisters and daughters were taking part in the auction!"
Did they look particularly toothsome?
"As with most things done by the EU and governments the outcomes are never what they say they will be and inevitably things are made worse as in this instance."
Spot on! As Jim points out, the organised crime gangs realised this before our useless politicians...
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