The horsemeat contamination scandal could have provided the ideal example of competent authorities across Europe working together. However, one of the reasons for the delay in any coordinated response was that the 'Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed' (RASFF) is primarily a tool to exchange information between competent authorities on consignments of food and feed in cases where a risk to human health has been identified. The Food Standards Authority Ireland (FSAI) did not initially notify the RASFF because the horsemeat contamination was not a risk to human health.
The RASFF now has many notifications, listed as information for attention or follow up, referring to the adulteration of foods with horse DNA.
Quality concerns can have just as much impact on an industry as safety issues and are also deserving of cross border coordination. The system is being, de facto, used to manage quality aspects and combat fraud and so, if this is now accepted, it would be a good time to formalise it into a revised system.