Major review of UK food system launched by FSA and FSS

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Food Standards Agency along with Food Standards Scotland have launched the new review.
Food Standards Agency along with Food Standards Scotland have launched the new review.

Related tags: Supply chain

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have launched a major review of the UK food system.

The inaugural annual report Our Food: An annual review of food standards across the UK​ comes after the food system has faced two-years of major upheaval following the UK’s departure from the EU, the significant effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and more recently the disruption caused by the war in Ukraine.

Despite these significant pressures, the report concludes, with a degree of caution, that food standards in the UK have largely been maintained. However, while there has been no evidence of a drop in standards, the report warns of challenges ahead. 

Main concerns

The report identified two of the main concerns as being the fall in the number of inspections of food businesses, as a consequence of the resourcing pressures faced by local authorities. Secondly, the delay in establishing full UK imports controls for high-risk food and feed from the EU, has reduced the ability to prevent the entry of unsafe food into the UK market.

FSA chair, Professor Susan Jebb, said: “This first joint report reflects on a period during which there has been significant concern about the impact of world events on food standards and safety.

“It is encouraging for UK consumers and our international trading partners that this report provides reassurance that the high food standards we enjoy in the UK have been upheld during a really tough period for the food system. However, the effects of recent momentous events are still being felt, and will continue to have an impact on our food systems for many years to come."

No illusions

She added that the FSA was under 'no illusions' on the major challenges ahead. 

“Establishing full UK import controls on food by the end of next year from the EU is a priority. The longer the UK operates without assurance that products from the EU meet our high food and feed safety standards, the less confident we can be that we can effectively identify potential safety incidents,” ​she said.

“As the report also points out, local authority inspections declined during the reporting period. Even though there are signs of improvement, particularly on hygiene inspections, local authorities continue to face resourcing constraints which could affect progress.”

This report is the first in a series due to be published annually as part of an ongoing commitment to transparency. It is also to ensure that  parliamentarians, trading partners and consumers at home and abroad, remain aware of the changes and challenges to our food system.

Related topics: Food Safety

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