It’s been three years since the UK horse meat scandal - can we trust the food supply chain?

By Nye Longman
The UK erupted in shock in 2013 when it was discovered that horsemeat had made its way into beef burgers and ready meals. After three years, it is clear...

The UK erupted in shock in 2013 when it was discovered that horsemeat had made its way into beef burgers and ready meals. After three years, it is clear that much has changed in the food supply chain while some issues persist.

Muddy Boots’ Greenlight Quality Control system checked over three million items of fresh produce last year, which is an increase of 150 percent since the scandal broke; this system enables all members of the supply chain to easily access, update and share information instantly. Supported by a central database of product specifications, the QC system provides visibility across the board; it is used by around 70 percent of the UK’s fresh produce supply chain.

Mark Powell, Product Development Manager at Muddy Boots said: “Traditionally, the produce would arrive at the supermarket depot and at that point the retailer either accepts and sells the goods, or rejects and discards it. This is a risky and costly approach that makes working efficiently and sustainably a real challenge.

RELATED: Globalised supply chain to blame for horsemeat scandal?

“However, when all members of your supply chain are accessing the same data via Greenlight QC, everyone is clear on the required specification from the get-go; the supplier, and even his suppliers, have confidence that the produce is the appropriate quality for the customer before it’s shipped, and the retailer has confidence that all produce about to arrive at depot is fit for purpose.

This early warning system allows the supplier to identify any produce that the retailer will reject before he ships it, therefore allowing him to redistribute to another customer. The end result is a significant reduction in waste, increase in efficiency, and stronger supply chain relationships.”

While the uptake of this system is undoubtedly a sign that big grocers are taking steps to prevent a repeat of the past (or something worse!) But, for smaller businesses at least, the costs of mapping out entire supply chains can prove to be a massive barrier.

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Read the January Issue of Supply Chain Digital.

SOURCES: [Guardian; ResponseSource

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