FSA News Item, 26 January 2011
At its open meeting yesterday, the Food Standards Agency Board considered its responsibilities as the UK’s central competent authority for official controls on food safety, and agreed to review the delivery of official safety controls.
The FSA Board agreed:
As the UK’s competent authority in this area, the FSA is responsible for protecting the interests of consumers in relation to food. To do this it needs a system that ensures food business operators are able to fulfil their obligations for safe food production. These controls – implementing feed and food law in the UK – are currently delivered through a variety of means, including FSA employees, other Government Departments, contractors, and local authorities. This makes food safety responsibility in the UK very complex.
FSA Chair Jeff Rooker said:
'The UK food sector is one of the most sophisticated and developed in the world. The current official control delivery arrangements do not mirror the modern food supply chain with food businesses ranging from multinationals and global brands to single artisan producers operating across local authority boundaries.
‘The heart of the FSA’s role is protecting public health from risks, which may arise in eating food, including the way it is produced or supplied. In the current climate of financial pressures it is timely to consider how best we can secure consistency and sustainability in this fundamental public health protection function.
‘The review will be principle based and objective with no pre-determined outcomes. A number of options will be assessed including a more centralised model with four national delivery bodies in each of the countries of the UK.
The review will be undertaken by FSA staff but overseen by an independent representative. It will be done in partnership and seek the co-operation and involvement of other public health organisations, individuals, other Government departments, professional bodies and consumers across the UK.’
For detailed backgroud information on this topic, copies of the relevant FSA Board Paper and Annexes are provided on this site. See: