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Food traceability information available as mobile App

24 September 2013

A free App has been made available in a bid to provide consumers with more information on food bought at UK supermarkets.

The ‘Where’s This From’ App provides the name, location and activities of the operator (typically a slaughterhouse, cutting or packaging plant) so shoppers can see how far meat has traveled. It also shows which types of meat are handled by that operator. This could include beef, lamb, pork, poultry and red meat.

In a statement, said: “Everyone wants to know more about where their food comes from. Although there have been some great advances on how food is labelled from a nutritional perspective, there is very little information shared about what’s happened from farm to aisle.”

Every packet of meat that is sold in supermarkets carries an oval EU Identification Mark with a four-digit code that links to publicly available data published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on approved meat operators in Great Britain. These meat operators are the last link in the supply chain of most packaged meat and mince sold in UK supermarkets.

The App uses the code to find the relevant data published by the FSA and presents it to the user. Consumers can pick up a meat product they’re about to buy, find the relevant code on the packaging and then type it into the search screen of the App. Once ‘enter’ has been pressed, the App searches and returns the relevant FSA data on that meat operator.

The FSA also monitors meat produced from operators to make sure it is safe so, where available, the App shows the level of compliance of the operator with FSA requirements on hygiene processes and animal welfare. The App enables consumers to tell if an operator is the ‘best in the class’ for compliance or ‘could do better’ – indicated by simple ‘good’, ‘adequate’, ‘weak’ or ‘poor’ scores. Where there is an imminent risk to public health the FSA investigates and intervenes.

The App is completely free and can be downloaded for iPhones and Android.

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