Food supply chain focus of summit

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LORD Haskins, the former chairman of Northern Foods, will be the key industry speaker at a major national conference being staged in the wake of the horsemeat crisis.

He will highlight the importance of the traceability of food to consumers and how the food industry has to strike the right balance between assuring the integrity of the food supply chain and adding cost.

The conference takes place on Wednesday during Great British Beef Week and is the first major industry event to be held after horsemeat was discovered in products labelled as beef.

More recent food revelations, such as the mislabelling of fish, have thrown open the whole food supply chain to scrutiny.

Lord Haskins was chairman of Northern Foods for 16 years and in 2001 he was the Government’s rural tsar at the height of the foot and mouth disease epidemic.

He said: “The whole issue of protecting the food supply chain has been building in the last few weeks and isn’t going away.

“The conference will generate a much-needed discussion among all those involved in the food industry as to how we win back consumer confidence – and quickly.”

The food and drink industry is the single largest manufacturing sector in the UK, with a turnover of £72.8bn, accounting for 15 per cent of the total manufacturing sector. 440,000 people are employed in food manufacturing in the UK.

Representatives from Defra and the Food Standards Agency will also address the event on Wednesday, alongside European food experts. Details: www.assuringtheintegrityofthefoodchain.eventbrite.co.uk