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Food Scares

Researchers develop new 'food scare' categories system

By Michelle Perrett , 10-Jan-2017
Last updated on 10-Jan-2017 at 13:30 GMT2017-01-10T13:30:05Z

Example used: the horsemeat scandal was used as an example by researchers
Example used: the horsemeat scandal was used as an example by researchers

Chefs and licensees will be able to manage food scares more efficiently using research from the University of Surrey.

Researchers have developed new categorisations for food scares, which they claim would help operators develop strategies to tackle such problems.

It said that existing categorisations were found to be too simplistic and did not recognise contributing factors.

The researchers from the University of Surrey worked with industry experts to develop the new system.

It enables a food scare to be classified according to both its physical manifestation (chemical/physical or biological contamination) and the origins of the scare (wilful deception and/or transparency and awareness issues).

Researchers said that this would allow pubs and pub companies to operate a better level of risk management. This would allow teams to address categories of potential scares in a systematic way and develop effective strategies to avoid future occurrences.

Co-author of the report, professor Angela Druckman from the University of Surrey, said: “With food scares becoming more frequent, it is important that we have a categorisation system that enables efficient development of strategies to tackle such compromises to our food supply.”

During the study, researchers also found current definitions of the term ‘food scare’ to be inadequate because it failed to acknowledge consumers’ lack of trust in the food chain. Researchers pointed to the 2013 horsemeat scandal, which although was not harmful for human consumption, created a wariness among consumers of the food and supply chain.

New food scare definition

“A food scare is the response to a food incident (real or perceived) that causes a sudden disruption to the food supply chain and to food consumption patterns.”

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