fsa (14)

10449250084?profile=RESIZE_584xThe FSA has issued a final call for evidence linking products to applications on the public list. The CBD public list shows which products have a credible application for authorisation with the FSA.

Businesses have until 26 May 2022 to submit evidence that their products are linked to a credible application and were on the market before February 2020.

CBD Public List: Register of CBD products linked to novel food applications

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In response to many questions posted in the chat of the Webinar on the Global Honey Supply Chain that took place on 19 January 2022, the page on the Government Chemist website has been updated with work in progress on honey authenticity:

"This webinar and the consequent e-seminar is part of a suite of activities Defra, FSA, FSS and the Government Chemist are jointly working on to address some of the underpinning scientific issues that have emerged on the subject of honey testing and a number of workstreams are in progress.

Two further e-seminars, which will assist in disseminating information on honey authenticity testing, are in production. These cover using NMR testing for the determination of exogenous sugars in honey and best practice in establishing and curating databases for food authenticity. Work is also underway to develop guidance on applying a weight of evidence approach for food authenticity analysis, to pilot accreditation of non-targeted authenticity testing methods, to improve consistency and confidence in testing and reporting and to explore a data trust framework to share information on the honey supply chain and testing between interested communities. This will be followed by activity to standardise a protocol for the collection of authentic honey samples and to establish a framework for the scrutiny of authenticity databases. We are collaborating with key stakeholders on all these initiatives to secure the best outcome for all.

FSA’s blog on the complexities of honey authenticity, includes links to the recently published Government Chemist independent review of methods for honey authenticity testing and of the analytical reports underpinning recent allegations of honey fraud."

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The cost of food crime - Phase 1 Report

9390356670?profile=RESIZE_584xThis FSA project develops a conceptual framework for modelling and capturing the full range of costs attributed to food crime on UK society, along with an assessment of the availability of data that would be necessary to produce this model.

An economic framework was developed for estimating the economic cost of food crime which uses:

  1. Victim costs: Direct economic losses suffered by crime victims, including medical care costs and lost earnings.
  2. Criminal justice system costs: Costs of anti-food crime activities, legal and adjudication services, and corrections programs including incarceration.
  3. Crime career costs: Opportunity costs associated with the criminal’s choice to engage in illegal rather than legal and productive activities.
  4. Intangible costs: Indirect losses suffered by crime victims, including pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, and psychological distress.
  5. Market costs: Loss of profits for genuine firms.

Analysis was also conducted to assess how these costs can be calculated given available data sources. Finally, an assessment of the possibility of applying machine learning or other tools to build algorithms to calculate the costs was carried out.

The findings of this project will eventually be used in a phase 2 of the work which will look to build a model to provide preliminary estimates of the cost of food crime to UK society. 

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9389120853?profile=RESIZE_584xGenome editing, also known as gene editing, is one of the precision breeding techniques in food that may be adopted by the government after EU Exit. Therefore DEFRA have run a public consultation on genetic technologies in food (Opens in a new window).

This research by the Food Standards Agency complements the consultation by gathering evidence specifically on consumer interests. For more information about genome editing in food, view our FSA Explains video.

 

Key findings  

  • Consumers tended to have very low awareness and very low knowledge of GE food.
  • More informed consumers were, or became, more accepting of GE food.
  • Consumers tended to find GE food more acceptable than GM food. However, consumers found GM or GE applied to plants more acceptable than applications to animals, for example, due to human safety and animal welfare concerns.
  • Most consumers felt it would be appropriate to regulate GE foods separately from GM foods. At the same time, many felt regulation should be just as thorough as for GM.
  • Most consumers felt labelling should always inform the consumer of the presence of GE ingredients using the full term ‘genome edited’.  
  • Overall, consumers wanted thorough regulation and transparent labelling if GE foods reach the UK market, and they suggested social media information campaigns and TV documentaries would help educate the public on GE food. 

Download report and appendices.

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How the FSA is Helping to Combat Online Food Crime

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The volume of trade of food sold over the internet is both growing and changing at a rapid rate, and there is increasing concern about the potential safety and the possibility of food fraud of this trade. In this article, the FSA (Food Standards Agency) explains what action it is taking to regulate the online trade in food, especially dealing with the proliferation of unregistered businesses on online platforms. In particular, FSA has been rolling out a digital Register a Food Business tool, which allows businesses to register digitally with their local authority using a smart phone, tablet or PC.  

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In this article, Emily Miles, Head of the Food Standards Agency, and Prof Chris Elliott, Queens University Belfast, discuss the impact of reduced funding to local authorities (LAs) at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) Food Safety Conference. Emily Miles noted the 20% reduction in food professionals (Environmental Health Officers and Trading Standards Officers) for 2020/21 and what it might mean for food safety, and the effect on our future trade after Brexit. Prof Elliott spoke about the seven principles of food integrity: food should be safe; authentic; nutritious; systems used to produce food should be sustainable; ethical; we have to respect and protect the environment and all those people who produce food.The budget cuts for sampling and testing could lead to a two-tier system in the UK, where large food retailers and manufacturers continue their own very effective food integrity assurance, but leave the SMEs in a very vulnerable position.

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8017971267?profile=RESIZE_584x Registration is now open for a free online conference, run in partnership between the UK Food Standards Agency and the University of Sheffield, on Monday 9 November 2020 as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science.

The COVID 19 outbreak has necessitated a move away from more traditional data collection methods and accelerated the innovative use of digital data. In partnership with the University of Sheffield, this virtual half-day event will demonstrate how digital data collection and analysis can inform our understanding of food, and outline key findings related to the digitalisation of food behaviours.  

It will cover the recent review of the FSA flagship survey, Food and You, digital self-report methods on handwashing behaviour and key findings from recent social media analysis, including COVID-19 trends in food behaviour.    

The event offers an excellent opportunity for anyone in the social science community to hear about how social science directly informs real life policy-making in a government context under rapidly changing circumstances. As well as learning about the work and priorities of the FSA and international colleagues, virtual panel sessions will provide an opportunity to discuss ideas with experts from academia, industry and policy.  

To book your place, please register using Eventbrite.  

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6429640493?profile=RESIZE_400x The FSA's Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof Guy Poppy has published on 17 June his review of risk analysis, which began in 2018. Risk analysis is the process of estimating risks to human and/or animal health, identifying and implementing measures to control the risks, and communicating these risks and measures to relevant parties. It has three components: risk assessment, led by science and evidence; risk management, the consideration of management options available by policy officials; and risk  communication. When the UK leaves the EU on 1 January 2021, European legislation on food and feed safety will move into UK law to provide continuation of the rules. However, the FSA and FSS will be reponsible for the most of the risk analysis functions that were previously provided by EFSA. The report outlines the FSA's response to this future change:

1. A clearer separation between our risk assessment and risk management to ensure the scientific integrity of risk assessment;
2. An expanded role for our Scientific Advisory Committees (SACs), strengthened by recruiting additional experts and by establishing three new Joint  Expert Groups (JEGs);
3. A new UK process for authorising regulated products such as food and feed additives, enzymes, 3 flavourings, novel foods, GM food and feed.

The new approach to risk analysis will also include: 
• Developing food and feed safety standards and controls based on scientific evidence e.g. policies, guidance, controls and enforcement;
• Pre-market approvals and post-market reviews of regulated food and feed products;
• Risk-based import controls;
• Handling incidents and food crime.

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4233925226?profile=RESIZE_710xThe FSA has today published guidance to assist food businesses in responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The new guidance has been developed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and covers a range of areas including good hygiene practice, management of employee sickness, and social distancing for specific food business settings.

It is very unlikely that people can catch COVID-19 from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.

The FSA is working with the food industry to ensure that businesses know what their responsibilities are and what actions they need to take to maintain safety standards and protect staff during the outbreak.

The guidance can be found on GOV.UK

 

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The survey assessed how LAs plan and prioritise their food standards work, the resources and capacity they have and how they measure the success of their programmes. The review can be found here

Key findings from the survey

  • Levels of food standards resource in England are generally lower than in Wales and Northern Ireland, with 22% of English LAs having less than 1 Full-Time Equivalent (‘FTE’) person dedicated to food standards work.  
  • 15% of food businesses are unrated for food standards risk, however the figures for some LAs are higher
  • LAs had difficulty in recruiting qualified officers and 57% of LAs were not in a position to support a student through the qualification process 

Alternative approaches to food standards delivery are being adopted effectively by many LAs. FSA intend to explore and build on areas of good practice as part of their reform programme. 

Review to be discussed at the next FSA Board meeting

The review of food standards has been published as part of the FSA Board papers. 

The next Board meeting will be held at Church House in London on Wednesday 5 December 2018 at 8.30am. You can attend in person or watch it live online.

A full agenda and published papers can be viewed in the board meeting section of the FSA website

For details on how to register to attend the Board meeting, please see the Board section of the FSA website.

 

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Food Standards Agency Chair Heather Hancock has announced the appointment of a Chair and seven members to the Agency’s new Science Council. The Council will provide high-level, expert and independent advice and challenge to the Agency on how it uses science to underpin its work.

Professor Sandy Thomas will Chair the Council. Professor Thomas is Director of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and an Honorary Professor at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex. She has extensive experience of leading, convening and generating cross-disciplinary analysis and strategic science to inform policy; and was Head of the UK Government’s Foresight Programme from 2007 to 2015.

The seven newly appointed members of the Council are: Professor Laura Green, Professor John O’Brien, Professor Sarah O’Brien, Mr Mark Rolfe, Dr Paul Turner, Professor Patrick Wolfe and Professor Mark Woolhouse. Mr Rolfe has been appointed to the role of Member bringing insights on the public’s perspectives.

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The FSA has published a summary of those food incidents, handled between January and March 2016, that led to an alert being issued by the FSA to recall or withdraw products from sale. This quarterly list also includes information on investigations we supported relating to potential widespread risks from food poisoning and harmful contamination.
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