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Traceability in the food animal industry and supermarket chains
|Author(s) :||R.G. Pettitt|
Since the 1950s, consumers in the United Kingdom (UK) have learned to expect cheap, but safe food. A number of incidents in the 1980s and 1990s caused public alarm and loss of confidence in the role of producers and the Government in the food supply. This review examines the impact of recent food scares in the UK, where scrutiny of the food industry has led to the introduction of new controls at all stages of production. Animal feed manufacture, livestock production, slaughter and the use or disposal of animal by- products are now controlled in ways unimagined prior to the identification of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the late 1980s. Traceability has become an important issue for consumers and, by proxy, for the multiple retailers that service consumer needs. Retailers have increasingly managed the food chain to ensure high standards that can be proven by audit. The retailers have also found that a commercial advantage can be gained from certain aspects of source verification. In order to maximise sales in a depressed market, producer groups have themselves developed a multiplicity of assurance schemes.