UK – The Food Standards Agency has published its strategy for improving food over the next five years and recommitted to its mission of ‘food you can trust’.
The five-year strategy reflects the FSA’s greater responsibilities now that the UK is outside of the EU and takes into account growing public concern about health and climate change.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) works to protect public health and consumers’ wider interests in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Professor Susan Jebb, FSA’s Chair, noted that since its inception two decades ago, FSA has developed a strong reputation for its work to ensure food is safe.
“This must continue. Now is also the right time for the FSA to contribute to wider government efforts to tackle diet-related disease and climate change, while keeping food affordable.
“Our five-year strategy signals our intention to work with partners and other stakeholders in the food system to achieve healthier and more sustainable food. Through all of this we will continue to uphold the interests of consumers so we can all enjoy food we can trust,” she said.
Leaving the EU has changed the FSA’s role, bringing in new functions like approving new types of food that come on sale and setting rules for checks of imported food, said Emily Miles, FSA Chief Executive.
“Today the FSA therefore plays a more critical role than ever in supporting governments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on matters relating to food. The strategy commits us to put consumer interests at the heart of our work so that food is safe and what it says it is as well as being healthier and more sustainable,” she highlighted.
The FSA’s new strategy sets out how, over the next five years, it will continue to lead the way on food safety and authenticity, so consumers can be confident that the food they buy is safe and what it says it is.
“We all have the right to expect that the food we eat will not make us ill. This is why we will prioritize keeping the level of foodborne disease low. We do this in many ways; from our direct inspection work in the meat, dairy and wine industries to our surveillance and preventative programmes,” FSA outlined.
It also signals the FSA’s willingness to support governments to improve the health of the nation and to look after the planet.
“Our strategy also sets out how we will work as an independent, non-ministerial government department. It reaffirms the role of science and evidence in informing everything we do and our commitments to transparency, proportionality and innovation.
“It sets out our aspiration to make it easier for food businesses to meet their obligations and do the right thing to protect public health,” said FSA.
FSA has also developed seven guiding principles which reflect some existing strengths of the organisation that it must maintain, and some critical ways in which it needs to keep evolving, in order to achieve its five-year goal.