I know from the work I do every week with progressive technical directors and technical managers that treating food safety as a "non-competitive issue" allows them to sit down, have conversations and move things forward. If food safety becomes a competitive issue some companies may become introverted and we are all worse off as an industry.
Reports this week from South Korea have shed light onto another form of fraudulent beef trading.
The nature of the fraud wasn’t the substitution of another species or pretending brisket was steak.
It was the relabeling of US beef with different labels of origin.
There were economic benefits because the US beef is cheaper than Australian or locally produced beef so there was the familiar economic benefit beckoning the defrauders.
The added twist is that US beef is banned in South Korea because of feed additives.
The country has suspended some US beef imports after the feed additive Zilpaterol was found in meat supplied from a US producer.
The product is used to increase the size of cattle and the efficiency of feeding them. Of particular concern is the use of the veterinary additive as a finisher prior to slaughter. If the withdrawal period before slaughter is not sufficiently long enough there is a risk to the consumer and may result in consumer toxicity.
The South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs reported that since January this year a total of 181 cases or over 75 tonnes of this beef was found to be deliberately mislabeled.
This feed additive is not approved in the EU.
Is this something you have covered in your supply chain risk assessment?
Might there be a need to re-examine your veterinary residue testing programme?
There is no doubt that this new twist on the continuing story of beef fraud should stimulate a fresh examination of your meat supply chain.