GC responds to the FSA review of food standards delivery

The Government Chemist team responds to the Food Standards Agency review on how food standards work is delivered across England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Woman selecting meat at supermarket
Consumers must have the information they need to help make informed choices

FSA review

FSA surveyed local authorities between March and May 2018 across the three countries and 104 replied. It assessed how local authorities plan and prioritize food standards work, the resources and capacity they have and how they measure success of programs.

The current approach to delivery of food standards controls is set in the Food Law Code of Practice (FLCOP), which has separate versions covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Michael Walker, Referee Analyst and head of the Office of the Government Chemist, LGC welcomed the review

“Food must be safe and consumers must have the information they need to help make informed choices about the food they buy; responsibility for this rests firmly with those who make and sell food. There is however a legitimate expectation of government oversight. There is ample legislation covering food standards including the quality, composition, labelling, presentation, chemical contamination and advertising of food. But policy responsibility for and delivery of official controls of food standards (i.e. ‘enforcement’) exist in a complex landscape.

I welcome this review and its findings. The conclusions are refreshingly candid in recognising the failures in the system. FSA is to be applauded in its aims to address the failures.

Much can be done to improve consistency of approach and effective targeting of resources. But it is openly acknowledged in the report that it is highly unlikely that available resources to deliver food standards controls will increase in the near future without intervention by central government. Thus there is a tension between the ambitious aims of the review and the practical ability to deliver sustainable modernisation in the short term.

With the community’s full support, and knowing the calibre and experience of the team responsible for Regulatory Compliance in FSA, I look forward to the successful outworking of this review.”

A full article on the review and the GC response can be found on Food Safety News and the published review can be found on the FSA website.

For any enquiries related to food testing to meet standards contact the Government Chemist

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