The first prosecution brought as a result of the 2013 horse meat scandal concluded on Monday 23 March. Peter Boddy, an abattoir owner, was fined £8,000 for failing to keep proper records. Mr Boddy admitted selling 55 horses from his abattoir in West Yorkshire and accepting 17 more without complying with food traceability regulations. It is understood that some of the meat was sold to Italian restaurants. Abattoir manager David Moss was given a four month suspended sentence for falsifying an invoice, some of the meat in question having been sold 'cash in hand'. Both men were also ordered to pay costs amounting to more than £10,000. Sentencing, Judge Alistair McCreath saw the traceability of food products as "of critical importance in relation to public health".
The abattoir's failings came to light as a result of a Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigation in early 2013. The sentencing has been welcomed by the FSA. Jason Feeney, Chief Operating Officer at the FSA said: "We are pleased with the successful conclusion of this prosecution. The rules on food traceability are there to protect consumers and legitimate businesses." The FSA continues to support ongoing criminal investigations into the horse meat scandal.
In related FSA news, the agency has announced that Andy Morling has been appointed as head of the new Food Crime Unit. Mr Morling has formerly worked in intelligence and investigation for HMRC, the Serious Fraud Office, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, and most recently the National Crime Agency. In his new role, he is expected to focus on developing the unit's intelligence gathering network to enable evidence of the risks and the nature of food fraud and food crime in the UK to be collected.
Finally, the Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, launched the GCA's 2015 survey this week. Open for responses until Friday 1 May 2015, the survey is available online. It is open to trade associations/representative organisations as well as direct and indirect suppliers to retailers, and provides food chain suppliers with a valuable opportunity to feedback on how well they feel retailers are complying with the Code, and to help identify priority areas for the Adjudicator.