FSA News Item, 18 April 2007
The Agency has published guidance to help businesses and enforcement authorities prevent and respond better to food incidents. An incident is an event where there are concerns about actual or suspected threats to the safety of quality of food that could require intervention to protect consumers' interests.
The guidance has been developed by the Food Incidents Task Force, set up by the Agency in the wake of the 2005 Sudan I industrial dye incident, to help strengthen controls in the food chain and prevent major food incidents.
The task force brought together experts from the food industry, consumer groups and enforcement authorities to identify good practice from previous food incidents and develop guidance for other organisations.
The guidance gives step-by-step advice about preventing food incidents, including how to identify potential hazards. It also gives practical advice about effective incident response from notification through to post-incident actions.
It's designed to help anyone who is responsible for handling incidents in the food industry as well as those in local authorities. A summary version has been developed particularly for small businesses.
Nick Tomlinson, Head of the FSA's Chemical Safety Division, said: 'The incidents task force provided a unique opportunity for a range of experts to come together and share their expertise about preventing and handling food incidents.
'The food chain is complex and food incidents are difficult to eliminate altogether but we hope that providing clear, easy-to-follow information will help food businesses to reduce the likelihood of them happening. The guidance also aims to improve the handling of incidents by providing easy-to-follow advice on the steps to follow if an incident does occur.'