This funding is in addition to the FSA’s original Westminster-funded budget of £84m for 2018/19.
The organisation was granted the extra money after submitting a funding bid to HM Treasury for 2018/19 EU Exit related activities. This included a request to fund Phase 2 of the NFCU, which would be required to build investigative and related capabilities in readiness for the additional risks and opportunities presented by Brexit.
Strong business case
The funding for the NFCU is dependent on the FSA presenting a strong business case to the Government.
If the NFCU were to advance into Phase 2 of its development, the aim would be for it to be operational by 1 April 2019. Andy Morling, head of food crime, revealed the news at the FSA’s board meeting last week.
FSA chair Heather Hancock said during the meeting: “The FSA is already working hard to ensure that the high standard of food safety and consumer protection we enjoy in this country is maintained when the UK leaves the European Union.
“This additional funding will help us deliver this key priority for the FSA.
“We estimate that more than 90% of food law in the UK comes from Europe, so we have a challenging task ahead to ensure we are ready. Robust controls need to be maintained, as do the food safety functions currently undertaken in the EU. Risk-assessment and oversight of food safety controls will be essential to ensure that food remains safe, whether imported or produced here.
“The additional funding for the NFCU, which is subject to a further business case to the Treasury, follows our success in securing cross-Whitehall Ministerial endorsement of our proposals to expand the unit and its remit.”