The Elliott Review was published in response to the 2013 horsemeat scandal, but it has implications beyond the food supply chain for retailers.

How well do you know your supply chain? This question came into sharp focus for food retailers last year when the horsemeat scandal erupted, and then proceeded to implicate different high-profile retailers in a story that simply wouldn’t go away.

Following the scandal, the government commissioned an independent report into the weaknesses in the UK’s food supply network, with some suggested measures that can be taken to address them.

The final Elliott Review was released in September 2014, and outlines eight pillars of food integrity:

  • Consumer first
  • Zero tolerance
  • Intelligence gathering
  • Laboratory service
  • Audit
  • Government support
  • Leadership
  • Crisis management

The review also calls for a national food crime agency to be urgently set up to protect consumers (to read Retail Week’s analysis click here).

Alongside the recommendations, Professor Elliott also recognised that to make any meaningful difference, the industry needs government support to combat organised food fraud.

For food retailers, the most relevant sections are those on zero tolerance and audit, but there are lessons in the review that are applicable to all retail supply chains particularly around transparency, consumer focus, the value of auditing and leadership.

But has the review gone far enough? And are the recommendations enough to ensure something like the horsemeat scandal will never happen again?

It will now be up to retailers as to how they respond to these recommendations in order to prevent any potential future problems.