At the behest of the U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA), an independent reviewer has issued a final report on the agency’s response “to the adulteration of processed beef products with horse and pork meat and DNA.” Authored by Pat Troop, former chief executive of the Health Protection Agency, the report evaluates FSA’s “relevant capacity and capabilities,” including (i) “the response of the FSA to any recent prior intelligence on the threat of substitution of horsemeat for beef in comminuted beef products available in the U.K.,” (ii) the “strategic, tactical and operational response” to initial test results, (iii) “communication from the FSA to the public, parliament, and other stakeholders,” (iv) FSA’s engagement with the food industry and other regulatory agencies, and (v) “the enforcement response of the FSA, in terms of the powers available and arrangements for conducting investigations into potential breaches of food law or other law, including liaison and collaboration with other law enforcement agencies.”

The report ultimately recommends that FSA work to improve intelligence across the food chain, partly by increasing targeted sampling programs “delivered by not just the FSA and local authorities, but also by industry.” It also urges the agency to revisit its major incident plan, better define “the role of government departments in large, complex incidents,” and review “the use of framework agreements and codes of conduct.” FSA has announced plans to publish its official response to these findings in advance of its July 16, 2013, board meeting. See FSA News Release, July 5, 2013.