In a report prompted by the horse meat scandal in Europe, the UK's National Audit Office demonstrated how difficult it has become to trace food fraud. Using a single ready-to-eat pizza as an example, the investigation found 35 ingredients from 60 different countries—even though the box listed its country of origin only as "Ireland."
Earlier this year, a scandal erupted in the UK and other EU nations after it was discovered that horse meat from slaughter houses in Romania and other countries had made its way into popular grocery store products, masquerading as beef.
This new report from the NAO illustrates the incredible difficulties authorities face in checking for food authenticity in a global food chain. As in the U.S., the number of inspectors and laboratories testing food samples for safety has gone down in the UK, while the incidents of food fraud are rising.
Amyas Morse, head of the NAO told the Daily Mail, "The January 2013 horse meat incident has revealed a gap between what citizens expect of the controls over the authenticity of their food, and the effectiveness of those controls in reality. [...] The Government needs to remove this confusion, and improve its understanding of potential food fraud and how intelligence is brought together and shared."
As listed by the Daily Mail, here are some of the ingredients and countries of origins found on a single frozen pizza:
Dough: France, UK, Poland, USA.
Yeast: UK, Ireland, Germany
Salt: UK, France, China
Sugar: Brazil, Indonesia, Jamaica, UK
Herbs: Greece, Italy, Spain, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Morocco
Tomato Paste: Italy, France, Netherlands
Cheese: Switzerland, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, UK, Netherlands
Chicken: Brazil, Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Germany
Anchovies: Peru, Argentina, Italy, Falkland Islands, Spain, Iceland, Denmark.
Pepperoni: Poland, Italy, Ireland, UK, Denmark, USA
Vegetables 'from a host of Mediterranean countries'
Olive oil: Italy, Greece, Spain.
Chilli Peppers: 'Africa, Asia, South America'
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