Science to be central to FSA's future strategy

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fsa Government Food standards agency

Science to be central to FSA's future strategy
Evidence-based policy making will be key

Dr David Atkins, head of the Food Standards Agency's (FSA's) chief scientist team, has stressed the importance of hard science as a core pillar of its future strategy.

His comments follow the results of an independent review of the FSA's use of science and evidence in decision making by the Government Office for Science (GO-Sc). Overall, the review commended the FSA for its use of science.

Speaking at the Scottish Food and Drink Federation's annual conference in Dundee in May, Atkins said: "Science and evidence at the Agency is not a bolt-on accessory. It's something that's fundamental to our business.

"We like to think we're intelligent customers of evidence and analysis. It's something I pride myself on, but other people have their own views on that."

Atkins admitted that the FSA had previously tended to view science as a tool to deliver its strategy, rather than central to it, but he said it would be more greatly integrated into its values.

Responding to the GO-Sc review, Atkins admitted the FSA had areas it needed to work on. In particular, he said, GO-Sc had pinpointed the need for greater clarity over where and how policy decisions were made and the need for more collaborative working with government and external stakeholders.

However, GO-Sc had also urged the FSA to ringfence cash for scientific research despite tight budgets. Atkins said: "I think this is going to be difficult."

He said the FSA aimed to work even more closely with the food industry and other stakeholder groups in the future.

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