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Horsemeat Scandal Could Have Been Avoided

News   •   Feb 27, 2013 19:10 GMT


Experts at the University of Wolverhampton say that
the recent horsemeat scandal could have been prevented if a system they had
developed had been implemented.

The Farm to Fork project, aimed at tracking food
sources from place of origin right to your dinner plate, was recently completed
by the University of Wolverhamptons’ School of Technology research team and
eight partners from across Europe.

The system uses Radio Frequency Identification and
Barcode technologies, among others, to trace the food from producers to consumers.
The use of sensors even allows them to monitor the goods temperature and humidity
while in storage. The records are stored in a secure database which allows
individual products to be traced. They are identified by individual signatures
such as Barcodes or QR codes.

The University of Wolverhamptns Bob Newman, who led
the research, had this to say: “The
food industry is not currently working in a joined up way – there are plenty of
processes and procedures but no coherent system. The Farm to Fork project
bridges the gap between the supplier and retailers and the consumer.”

“We…believe it
provides a solution to the current problem identified by the horsemeat scandal
but it depends on suppliers and retailers getting on board. We are working to
get this to be a standardised approach for suppliers as it has magnificent
potential.”

During the project
the research team worked with suppliers from five countries to trace products
such as cheese, wine, meat and fish. The research has now been completed and the
Farm to Fork team are currently working with international trading standards
organisations as they prepare for commercial implementation.

The project was funded by the European Commission’s
Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).