3rd Annual UCC-Musgrave Guest Lecture on Food Integrity

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Prof Alan Reilly, former CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), will deliver the 3rd UCC-Musgrave Annual Guest Lecture.

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Prof Alan Reilly, former CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), will deliver the Third UCC-Musgrave Annual Guest Lecture on Food Integrity in Cork University Business School (CUBS), UCC on Tuesday 28th of September.

Professor Reilly was at the helm in the FSAI during the Horsemeat adulteration scandal, his presentation - Impact and consequences of the EU-wide horsemeat scandal: from the horses’ mouth! - reflects on this experience and developments since.

This public event is part of a collaborative UCC-Teagasc-Musgrave research project “Protecting Irish Agri-food Chain Integrity”. Dr Seamus O’Reilly, CUBS, and Prof. Maeve Henchion, Teagasc, will present headline findings from this research. The work reviewed developments in the food integrity field over the last decade and analysed food fraud incidents reported. Funded by the Teagasc Walsh Scholar Programme and Musgrave, it identifies key elements of a food integrity management system.

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This is a topic of interest to a range of food industry stakeholders, including food retailers, food service operators, processors and regulators. The programme provides an opportunity to interact with the research team and discuss food integrity challenges and opportunities with a world thought-leader on the topic.


10.30 Welcome

10.35 Highlights from Research Project “Protecting Irish Agri-food Chain Integrity, Dr Seamus O’Reilly, CUBS, and Prof. Maeve Henchion, Teagasc

10.50 Introduction to Guest Lecturer, Ray Bowe, Head of Food Safety & Quality, Musgrave

11.00 Impact and consequences of the EU-wide horsemeat scandal: from the horses’ mouth! Professor Alan Reilly, Guest Lecturer

11.50 Break

12.00 Panel Discussion - Prof. Alan Reilly, Dr Seamus O’Reilly, and Prof. Maeve Henchion. Moderator, Ray Bowe


12.30 Closing address – Prof. Thia Hennessy, Dean, Cork University Business School (CUBS)


The EU-wide horsemeat scandal was a wakeup call for both the food industry and food regulators as to the challenges associated with food fraud. The complex nature of the globalized food supply chain and the economic motivation to provide cheaper foods have contributed to the growing prevalence of food fraud. The integrated nature of supply chains means that a local food fraud incident has the potential to quickly evolve to become an international incident in a short period of time. This is essentially what happened in 2013 when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland uncovered the undeclared adulteration of beef products with horsemeat.

In 2013, control programmes of food businesses were mainly focused on risk-based food safety management systems and preventing unsafe food reaching the consumer. Similarly, food regulatory authorities were principally concerned with verifying compliance with hygiene and safety legislation with minimal attention paid to risks of food fraud. Fraud is committed when food is deliberately placed on the market, for financial gain, with the intention of deceiving the customer.

The impact of the horsemeat scandal on implicated food businesses was reputational damage, loss of consumer confidence with economic consequences. Similarly, some regulatory authorities suffered reputational damage and were accused of “being asleep at the wheel”.

To prevent the reoccurrence of similar food fraud scandals, the food industry has introduced Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment programmes and developed Food Fraud Mitigation Plans. Such initiatives are now a requirement of voluntary technical assurance programmes, such as those of the BRC and GFSI. Certification of food authenticity, based on laboratory analysis, is now the norm for trade in high-risk foods. The European Commission and EU Member States have updated food regulations, strengthened coordinated control programmes, established the EU Food Fraud Network and adopted multi-agency, multi-disciplinary response teams to combat food fraud. Some of these initiatives will be discussed in this Annual Musgrave Guest Lecture on food integrity.

About the presenter

Prof. Alan Reilly has worked in the agri-food sector for over 40 years in the areas of food safety and food regulatory affairs. He worked at the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) for sixteen years, where he was responsible for setting up and managing this national food regulatory authority. Has was Chief Executive of the Authority from 2009 to 2015 with overall responsibility for coordinating the enforcement of national food regulations and the provision of the scientific evidence-base for underpinning national food safety policy.

Before joining the FSAI, he worked in the Food Safety Programme of the World Health Organization, Geneva. He has also worked at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK, and as a visiting associate professor at the College of Fisheries, University of the Philippines. From 2015 to 2018, he was a Senior Technical Advisor with the FAO Bangladesh Country Office assisting with the setting up and operationalisation of the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority and setting up an undergraduate BSc course in Food Safety Management at the Bangladesh Agricultural University in Mymensingh. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Food and Health, University College Dublin; and also an Adjunct Professor at the School of Food Science and Environmental Health, Technological University of Dublin. He acts as an adviser to the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the WHO/FAO International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN).

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