The FSA launched a consultation on the proposed changes called the Future Delivery Model, which looked at areas of reform to be phased in over the coming years. The new proposed approach is about using modern ways of working, including technology and intelligence, as well as a more risk-based and proportionate approach.
The FSA has said there is a need to create more of an onus on industry to enact their primary responsibility for consistently producing food to the required standards, with the FSA as the regulator, monitoring and verifying.
In a report to the FSA board this week it said: “The broad support for the Future Delivery Model proposals in response to the public consultation exercise whilst acknowledging the consultation has highlighted some aspects that we need to develop further."
It also highlighted challenges of the changes including the obligations under exports, the regulatory burden on smaller businesses, the ability of small to medium businesses to be able to take advantages of the flexibilities facilitated by modern technology.
FSA board members have emphasised the need to be sensitive to how the changes would affect smaller abattoirs as well as large ones and the need to work closely with frontline staff, such as meat hygiene inspectors, in designing changes.
The FSA also revealed that an annual report on food standards would be launched in 2022.
The report, to be written jointly with Food Standards Scotland (FSS), will provide an opportunity for the FSA and FSS to set out ‘the state of the nation’s plate’, using a wide range of evidence to examine whether food standards in the UK are being maintained, are falling, or improving.
Meanwhile, agri-tech company B-hive Innovations has received funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to lead a research project, which will detect early potato diseases and defects before they hit supermarket shelves.