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Can I Have Fries, Sorry Beef With That? February 10, 2013

Posted by Audit Monkey in The Joy & Pain of Internal Audit, The State of the British Nation.
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It has come to light that certain processed meat products in the UK and sold in British supermarkets aren’t quite what they seem. If you have been buying beef burgers or Findus beef lasagna, surprise, surprise, it isn’t beef but horse.

Hello, where has everyone been? What do you expect when you pay £1.60 Findus beef lasagna? You know it ain’t going to be 100% beef! Off cuts, more than likely. Dead horse and donkey – well, now you know the hidden ingredient. Admittedly the consumer was never told you and that’s were the rub is.

If I wanted to put my Internal Audit hat on, from a control perspective, everyone is blaming the FSA. No, not the Financial Services regulator in Canary Wharf but the Foods Standards Agency for not doing enough product testing. Apparently responsibility for testing has passed to Local Authority Councils* but your average Borough Council is hardly likely to do systematic product sampling at the local supermarket. Normally Local Council Officials don’t venture out of the Town Hall, albeit for the Christmas Party or a prolonged period of annual leave or authorised sickness.

I have no idea of the regulatory environment for food production with one exception. Funnily enough, I only thing I do know is a vet has to be present when a horse is put down in an abattoir to see fair play before the remains are used for pet food. Usually it’s a vet coming close to retirement or post retirement earning some pin-money and the unlucky horse didn’t cut the mustard in horse racing, so the glue factory twas.

The outcome of this sorry saga. Probably more regs, more auditing (happy days!) but increased food prices to cover the new costs arising from the new regulatory regime. But will my lasagna taste any different? Ah, the proof will be in the pudding!

* I can’t remember where I read this so stand to be corrected.


1. ITauditSecurity - February 15, 2013

First again? Yeah!

Wait a second, pudding is now in lasagna too? Or is the lasagna in the pudding? Must be a British delicacy.

The results depend on where the regulations and auditing levels are today and whether how closely they are being followed. If the regs and such are adequate, but they are not being followed, then perhaps all is needed is to enforce the following. So in the best case, a little more follow up on what SHOULD have been happening.

Most likely, the regs weren’t good enough AND someone was looking the other way. Either way, I wouldn’t look to put this on a 3-year cycle!

I don’t normally recommend the huffington post, but they have caputred some really creative tweets on the subject at http://huff.to/XdPKQT.

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