FSA News Item, 11 April 2008
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is today publishing a protocol outlining how it communicates during food incidents.
The document outlines the Agency's commitment to communicate risk clearly and proportionately to the public and explains to all those involved in a food incident – including companies, local authorities, trade associations – how the Agency will work with them during an incident to deliver effective communications and best protect public health.
Terrence Collis, Director of Communications at the FSA, said: 'Communicating clearly during an incident is absolutely vital. Not only do people need to know what the potential risk might be and what they need to do but the companies, local authorities and regulatory bodies involved in any incident also need to have a clear idea of what the Agency is going to do and say.
'The adoption of this communications protocol doesn't mean that there is a rigid code that the Agency will impose during a food incident – each one is different and brings with it its own particular pressures, issues and challenges – but the protocol does set a framework for communication and outlines the sort of factors we will take into account when handling incidents.'
The protocol forms part of the 'Principles for preventing and responding to food incidents' guidance, which can be found at the link below.
What is a food incident?
The new guidance defines a food incident as:
'Any event where, based on the information available, there are concerns about actual or suspected threats to the safety or quality of food that could require intervention to protect consumers' interests.'
Incidents fall broadly into two categories:
A copy of the FSA Coomunications Protocol can be seen on the FSA web site. See: