Crackdown on food safety in UK reduces incidents, regulator reports

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fsa, Food safety, Food

A crackdown of food safety incidents has led to a 19.2 per cent
reduction in foodborne illness between 2001 and 2006, the UK
regulator reported this week.

The reduction equates to about 1.5 million fewer people suffering from foodborne illness, the Food Safety Agency (FSA) said in its annual report. The reduction also means 10,000 fewer people ended up in hospital as a result of something they ate. The FSA had targed a reduction of 20 per cent for the period. "Effective partnerships are essential for such progress, and credit should go in particular to the food industry for its efforts right across the food chain,"​ the regulator stated. The FSA attributed the decline to a range of food hygiene initiatives, including its "Safer food, Better Business" programme aimed at catering businesses. "During the coming year, smaller food businesses can also anticipate helpful guidance from the agency on preventing and responding to food incidents,"​ the FSA stated. "Under the aegis of our Food Incidents Task Force, stakeholders have worked in partnership with us to learn from past incidents, such as the contamination of chilli powder with the industrial dye, Sudan I, in 2005."​ The FSA plans to beef up its incident response systems over the next 12 months. The changes include a revised on-line incident report form for industry, creating an external incident review process and a review of past data. In related news the FSA today posted a list of research and survey projects it wants to conduct over the rest of the year. The list pinpoints the FSA's priorities this year. The FSA is looking for agencies to conduct research or surveys into food additives, chemical contaminants from food contact materials and articles, irradiation, eggs and poultry, chemical contaminants from food production, radioactivity, and mycotoxins. "Three distinct yet related trends are influencing future demands on the agency -- growing awareness of the contribution of poor diet to disease and ill health, the implications for food safety of an increasingly complex global food chain, and the implications for the planet of not managing food in a more sustainable way,"​ the FSA stated in its annual report. A recently completed study on dioxins and PCBs in a wide range of 156 foods found that none contained levels above existing regulatory limits, the FSA reported this week.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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