Horsemeat scandal - Is the food industry doing too little, too late?

By Jenny EAGLE

- Last updated on GMT

Horsemeat - too little too late?
Horsemeat - too little too late?

Related tags: Food

Dr Barbara Wimmer from Eurofins Medigenomix DNA analysis centre in Germany, which was one of the first independent laboratories to confirm contamination of beef with horse meat in Ireland, is one of the speakers at Horsegate.

The exhibition and conference, organised by The Society of Food Hygiene and Technology (SOFHT), will shed light on what lessons have been learnt and what changes need to made going forward to ensure a similar incident does not happen again?

Following the 'Horsegate' issue earlier this year, Eurofins saw a significant increase in testing requirements from across the food industry​,” said Dr Wimmer.

This led to the company investing in new instrumentation and calling in expertise from its other specialist laboratories within the group to deal with the volume of testing​.”

Fight against food fraud

Other speakers at the conference on October 22, in Oxfordshire, UK, include Bill Wadsworth, technical director at Greggs' bakery retailer, David Croft, ​director of food technology at Waitrose and Defra, UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair.

Dr Wimmer will focus on the role DNA-based testing methods can have on the fight against food fraud. 

Eurofins Medigenomix is one of the few laboratories in Europe with real time PCR testing plus sequencing for up to seven species, giving semi quantitative results plus confirmation, while the group's UK-based Wolverhampton laboratory has an alternative cheaper method of qualitative PCR for a range of speciation identification including horse.

According to SOFHT, the appearance of horse DNA in meat products, ready meals and school food shows a ‘sad affair’ on the value consumers, food processors and retailers place on food in society today.

It also provides an example of the risks inherent in placing too much reliance on an increasingly complex food supply chain to meet the needs of everybody.

Click here​ for more information about the conference.

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