UK meat supplier adds traceability to its cuts

10 years on from the horse meat scandal in the UK, Yorkshire-based meat supplier Farmison & Co has started adding codes to all its packs to allow customers to look up the origins of what they buy.

The QR codes can be scanned using a smartphone, directing purchasers to Farmison's website to view "stunning videography, learn about the food miles, find information about the breed, and download exclusive recipes written by Jeff Baker specifically for that cut," according to chief executive John Pallagi.

In a blog post, Pallagi says the launch on the 10th anniversary of "Horsegate", builds on the company's efforts to rise above the failings of the traditional meat supply chain – exposed for its "incompetence and negligence" – which he says has been pivotal to its success.

"It reflected precisely what we were saying at the time, that the meat supply chain was opaque and unfit for purpose, obscured by numerous steps from field to fork, with meat divvied up and packaged in vast anonymous factories," he writes.

"I wonder what reforms their supply chain, in the long term, have been introduced. I believe the answer is very little and that meat food supply chains remain as opaque and difficult to trace as it ever did. Reputation management’ – I would venture – was more important than addressing the fundamental wrongs of these systems."

The QR codes will be included on packs of meat cuts, but won't appear on some other Farmison products including  sausages, burgers, and its Sauce Pan Ready range. Those products will however still be 100 per cent traceable, according to the CEO, who hopes that the supermarket chains will follow its lead.

"This Farmison & Co traceability project is, I hope you will agree, an exciting new step for British food supply and something we are keen to further roll out as we welcome more farms and suppliers to our flourishing network."

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