LONDON – A committee in the British Parliament is recommending that large retailers be forced to conduct regular DNA tests on all meat products they sell in order to avoid another scandal over beef tainted with horse meat. The Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee released its report about the horse meat scandal July 10.
"Large retailers, who sell much of the food we eat, should carry out regular DNA tests on meat and meat-based ingredients which form part of processed of frozen meat products," the committee wrote. "The results should be reported to the Food Standards Agency and a summary should be published on the retailer’s web site. The additional cost of this testing should be borne by retailers and not passed on to consumers."
The committee said retailers should have been more vigilant against the risks of adulterated meat, and that consumer confidence would be boosted by shorter supply chains. The committee also suggested in its report that communication about the role of the FSA should be improved.
"The FSA should ensure it is an effective regulator, serving the interests of consumers in ensuring safe and accurately labeled food," the report stated. "It should not be, or be seen to be, beholden to industry. To this end, it must be given powers to compel industry to carry out food testing when needed."