Elliott Review: Birmingham
As I reported when the interim Elliott Review report was published last December, we were already planning with the Review team how Birmingham could meet the challenge of widespread food crime.
As a result, Birmingham could act as a case study for how a major UK city might tackle this important issue.
Who should do what here to protect consumers from food crime — given that adulterated food means at the very least, consumers are cheated and at worst, they eat dangerously contaminated food?
A number of Professor Elliott’s recommendations in his interim report relate to actions at a national level to ensure the integrity of food supply networks.
Many more, however, are for groups and individuals working in the interests of the communities they serve. He firmly believes that tackling problems at a local level will form a key part of delivering a successful food crime prevention strategy, with stakeholders working in partnership to develop coordinated, preventative approaches and deterrents to help protect consumers — hence his request to us to provide him with an evidence base as to how this city might tackle the issue of food crime.
The workshop will be a unique gathering of professionals including Birmingham City Council people, (relevant Council representatives, also environmental health and trading standards experts), meals providers (in particular to consumers who have little or no choice about what they’re eating, such as school-children and hospital patients), restaurant and fast food providers, wholesale food suppliers, food retailers plus academics with expertise and knowledge of the food supply network.
What has been particularly heartening for me is the enthusiasm of professional people such as these to contribute their expertise from their particular perspective within the food supply network. They’re as keen as Professor Elliott and his team to do the right thing for consumers.