Skip to main content
Search Results

FSS & FSA join forces to review UK food system

28th Jun 2022 - 06:00
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched an in-depth review of food standards in the UK titled ‘Our Food 2021: An annual review of food standards’.

The inaugural report highlights high food standards were maintained across the UK but the report was also cautious of the challenges ahead. The report comes out after the UK has faced two years of upheaval following Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Two of the main concerns identified are the fall in the level of local authority inspections of food businesses, which are being hampered by resourcing pressures faced by local authorities, despite some progress in getting inspections back on track. Secondly, the delay in establishing full UK imports controls for high-risk food and feed from the EU, continues to reduce the ability to prevent the entry of unsafe food into the UK market.  

FSS chair Heather Kelman, commented: “It is really encouraging that this evidence-led report has found that our high food standards we strive for in Scotland and the rest of the UK have been upheld during a particularly challenging period. However, the full effects of these momentous events are still being felt, and will continue to have an impact on our food systems for years to come.

“We are under no illusions there are major challenges ahead. As the report points out, there is a significant issue in relation to local authority resourcing, which could have a dramatic effect on the ability to carry out inspections, food law delivery and, at the very core, it could cause a risk to public health.

“Establishing full UK import controls is also an issue which has the potential to not only damage consumer confidence, but ultimately affect the high standards of foods being placed on the market in Scotland and the rest of UK. It is our collective responsibility to make sure that these current challenges in the food system are mitigated in a way that puts us on course for a safe, healthier and more sustainable future food system.”

Industry reaction: 

Anna Taylor executive director of the Food Foundation: "This report again highlights the worrying trends we have already recognised – people are worried about food price inflation and the increasing difficulty of affording a healthy diet. It says poor diet causes 13% of all deaths and four times more people are living with obesity compared with 1980.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality: “Food safety is a key element of the UKHospitality agenda and although our industry faced numerous challenges during Covid, serving our customers safe and healthy food always remained a priority. Indeed, it was during the difficult past two years that the hospitality sector implemented two major pieces of food labelling legislation: Natasha’s Law allergen labelling and, in England, menu calorie labelling.

“We’re delighted, therefore, that this new report reveals allergen-related incidents have fallen by nearly a quarter compared to 2019. This of course reflects the fact that many hospitality businesses were closed for part of this period, but also illustrates that the sector is stepping up in this area, and recognises the continued and ongoing importance of communicating allergen information."

Written by
Edward Waddell