As the horsemeat scandal continues to rage through Europe, policymakers and industry are starting to reflect on what caused the crisis, and how it can be avoided in the future. In a recent meeting held in Brussels, EU health and consumer policy commissioner Tonio Borg told members of the European Parliament’s health and food safety committee that it was a lack of proper controls and dissuasive sanctions on fraud in European Union (EU) countries that had caused the scandal.
Of the 2501 beef products ordered by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to be tested for the presence of horse DNA, 99 cent came back negative, confirmed the agency on 15 February. Positive results were found in only 29 samples, which contained undeclared horsemeat at or above the level of one per cent - however, these had already been reported to the authorities.
According to recent media reports, the threat of furloughing 6 000+ federal meat inspectors due to automatic budget cuts imposed under sequestration would effectively shut down the US meat and poultry industry and violate the government’s legal obligation to keep inspectors at work, claims the American Meat Institute (AMI). Last week, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack reported that, if across-the-board sequestration goes into effect on 1 March, meat inspectors would be furloughed for 15 days.