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15 June 2016

Professor Chris Elliott praises new Guidance on Authenticity of Herbs and Spices

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Open Letter to the British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation and
Seasoning and Spice Association

I was aware that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) had organised a workshop for
industry to discuss the issues of authenticity of herbs and spices on sale in
the
UK following reports of fraud perpetrated in North America in 2015. I was
delighted that the FSA had taken this leadership role. I was also made aware
that the
industry had agreed to develop guidelines to help protect themselves and
ultimately the consumer from fraud. I thought this a very positive outcome to
the
workshop.

The ‘Guidance on Authenticity of Herbs and Spices’ was published this week and I
reviewed the document with great interest. My analysis is that a
well-described,
very coherent nine point plan has been produced that is both extremely robust
and practical. While no plan is ever full proof the UK Herbs and Spices
industry,
if they stick to their own guidelines, will be a substantially better place
than
ever before in terms of deterring fraud in this very vulnerable sector of the
food industry.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of those involved in
the development of this guideline for taking a major leadership role in further
protecting the UK consumer and good name of the UK food industry. While each
food
sector is different I believe that a template has been produced that can be
used
by many different areas of the food industry to provide practical guidance to
business to protect the UK from food fraud.

Professor Chris Elliott

Author of the Elliott Review on the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply
Networks Pro Vice Chancellor, Queen’s University, Belfast.

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