In the UK, we recently witnessed both the horse-meat scandal and the news that many supermarket customers were unaware they were buying meat slaughtered using halal methods. Both investigations caused a growing public interest in food labelling and traceability.
Here at the SFT, we believe that supporting local butchers is of the utmost importance. However, we can’t deny the fact that many people do much of their meat buying in supermarket. The Telegraph recently reported that in one four week period, “68% of all British families shopped at least once at a Tesco, and nearly half of all families shopped in either an Asda or a Sainsbury’s.”
There is a lot of food supply chain data out there, but how much of this information is actually being shared with consumers? Recently shortlisted for a Soil Association Innovation Award, Where’s This From is a new app that allows shoppers to find out more about the food they purchase, with a particular focus on buying meat.
In the UK, you will find a unique code on every packet of meat that is sold in the supermarkets. This four-digit code is linked to publicly available data provided by the Food Standards Agency on approved meat operators in the UK. The App then uses this code to find the relevant data published by the FSA, including the name, location and activities of the operator, usually a slaughterhouse, cutting or packaging plant.
The app also includes the types of meat handled by the operator, which could include beef, lamb, pork, poultry and red meat. Finally, it displays clear information regarding their last FSA audit, which gives a score of ‘good’, ‘adequate’, ‘weak’ or ‘poor’ on how they are ranked on animal welfare, environmental practices and hygiene.
Anything that makes the supply chain more visible and enables consumers to become more aware of the food they buy is good news in our books. However, if you’re still looking for reassurance of the provenance of your meat, don’t forget you can always head down to your local butcher and ask them.
Where’s This From is free to download and is available for both iPhone and Android devices.
Feature image by Kirk K
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