Horsemeat scandal was 'inevitable': Andrew Fearne
Pressure to cut costs at every stage of the food chain has made
the horsemeat scandal inevitable, according to an expert.
Andrew Fearne, head of Kent Business School at Medway, and
professor of value chain management at the University of Kent, is
not surprised by what had happened.
And he warned there would be more scandals to come.
It had been happening “all the time” but had only just been
“If suppliers are feeling squeezed, they’re going to be tempted
to cut corners,” he said.
“My guess is there will be thousands of products where suppliers
are cutting corners, shaving things off without telling anybody and
hoping to get away with it.
"It’s systemic because everyone’s being squeezed and the
temptation to cheat rather than go bankrupt is great.“
The horsemeat scandal was the latest example of a food chain
running ever faster just to stand still, falling victim to one
short cut too many in pursuit of survival.
“In the UK, thanks to the 1990 Food Safety Act, due diligence
reigns, so whilst our continental horse traders may well have been
testing the market for retired hunting nags, it is the supermarket
buyers who are legally obliged to carry the can and, more
importantly, need to wake up to the reality of commoditisation –
offering more for less and turning a blind eye to the unintended
"It’s systemic because everyone’s being squeezed and the temptation to cheat rather than go bankrupt is great" – Andrew Fearne, head of Kent Business School at MedwayBy demanding cheap
food, consumers had put great pressure on suppliers.
“We are all guilty,” he said. "Consumers should also ask
supermarkets more questions about what was in products and were
they sourced their food.
Processed frozen meat products were generally lower quality than
fresh, he said.
“If it’s fresh meat, you’ve got to know where it comes from and
the traceability programmes are designed to support supply
"But the minute something becomes processed, the regulations are
much weaker and the ability to follow a beef carcass through a
process supply chain is much tougher.”
He added: “Transparency in food supply chains is entirely
possible but comes at a cost.”