Imports from China, South East Asia and the Middle East are posing the greatest food safety risks to UK consumers at the present time, it has been claimed.
Paul Brereton, head of agri-food at the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) said meat, shellfish and nuts were the most significant areas of concern.
In this exclusive podcast for FoodManufacture.co.uk, Brereton discusses the “technology gap” that exists in many countries outside of Europe that want to be “major exporters” to the UK.
He was speaking at the official opening of FERA’s International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL) in York, which has been established to train overseas scientists employed by firms which export foods to Europe.
The IFSTL is joint venture between FERA and analytical equipment manufacturer Waters Corp.
The EU recently said there had been “an alarming increase” in the number of food related incidents in industrialised countries – a problem which will increase as the volume of imports rise and if standards aren’t improved.
Listen to find out why Brereton thinks the IFSTL will lead to better food safety practices trickling right down to the “farmer and grower”.
Meanwhile, extreme weather events could "wipe out" agricultural production and food systems, warned Tim Benton, professor of ecology at Leeds University, at the event.