UK – The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed in its annual report that the number of food incidents, recalls and cases of four pathogens went up over a 12-month period.

The report and accounts cover performance and activities in 2021/22 across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland at a cost of £130.5 million (US$160.2 million).

Campylobacter and Listeria cases reported in the UK in 2021 decreased from pre-COVID-19 levels but remained lower than pre-pandemic levels for Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157.

Data compared to more than 49,000 Campylobacter, 566 E. coli, 4,442 Salmonella, and 136 Listeria cases in 2020 revealed an increase for all four infections.

More than 1,000 persons were impacted by a string of similar Salmonella illnesses in 2020 and 2021 that were connected to breaded chicken items from Poland, says the report.

There were nine developing concerns found, including Listeria in Asian enoki mushrooms with a 90% non-compliance rate.

Incidents of contaminated food, animal feed, and the environment increased by approximately 20% to 2,336.

Pathogenic bacteria were the main contributor to incidents, followed by allergies and pesticide residues. This trend was sparked by a widespread occurrence in Europe involving the use of ethylene oxide that was not authorized in sesame goods and items containing locust bean gum.

In 2021/22, there were 150 notifications released, up from 136 in the previous year. This contained 66 product recall information notices and 84 allergy alerts.

The FSA spent 17% of its budget on research and evidence-based programs on foodborne illness.

A $23.5 million ($19 million) project called PATH-SAFE was launched to investigate cutting-edge techniques for enhancing foodborne illness and antibiotic resistance surveillance.

“While acknowledging the work that was ongoing through the year to manage the impact of COVID-19 and EU exit, it has been good to see a growing emphasis on recovery from the pandemic and adaptation to the expanded role of the FSA post-EU exit,” said Susan Jebb, FSA Chair.

She stated that despite signs of recovery during this reporting period, local authorities are still struggling and will continue to face constraints that could impact local food teams.

“Likewise, we remain concerned that without full import controls the less confident we can be about preventing food incidents occurring,” she said.


At a cost of £3.3 million (US$4.1 million), 245 non-compliances were discovered out of more than 11,000 analyzed samples, according to the FSA report.

When it came to the quality and accuracy of the customer information, certain items fell short of the requirements.

Over 4,000 samples were used for targeted surveillance, and 147 non-compliances were found.

In 2021–2022, a total of 32 Hygiene Improvement Notices and 42 Remedial Action Notices were issued in England and Wales.

These two enforcement actions were lower than they were the year before. In 11 cases that the FSA looked into during 2021–2022, 14 defendants were found guilty.

As a lead or supporting organization, the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) inaugurated 89 new operational activity strands in 2021/22, up from 70 in 2020/2021.

Following an investigation conducted by the unit into the selling of 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) for human consumption, the first conviction was secured.

NFCU assisted the Border Force in an operation at an airport that resulted in the removal of approximately 30 websites or marketplace listings that were selling DNP and the recovery of 525 kg of illegally imported products of animal origin (POAO).

The paper also discusses the creation of horizon scanning technologies, the Achieving Business Compliance program, and modifications to the official food control labs and food standards paradigm.

The report stated that more information was required before drawing conclusions regarding the influence of Coronavirus on more general hygiene standards despite the fact that local authorities are finding higher levels of non-compliance than before the epidemic.

By the end of 2023, full import restrictions for EU products entering the United Kingdom should be in effect.

UK food safety authorities have been managing risks through pre-notifications, introduced in January 2022 for certain high-risk food and feed imports.

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