FSA publishes priorities on science and evidence

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Microbiological food safety, allergen risk, and novel technologies are among the top areas of priority for the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the forthcoming year.

The UK Food Standards Agency has published a document to outlines priority science and evidence activities for the coming year. The ‘Forward Evidence Plan for 2012’ gives industry members and other stakeholders the opportunity to provide comments and suggestions that will help guide the FSA in its scientific remit for the coming year.

“Our Forward Evidence Plan highlights important pieces of work that will help feed into the FSA’s strategic priories, such as tackling the problem of campylobacter in chicken, as well as projects on issues such as novel and emerging technologies, and chemical safety,”​ an FSA spokesperson told FoodNavigator.

The proposed priority topics cover a wide range of areas, including a focus on the microbiological food safety (including campylobacter, E.coli, listeria and norovirus), a pilot to test alternative delivery of meat controls, and research into intake levels for novel food ingredients.

The agency document (found here​) outlines its proposed research and workshop activities for the coming year and summarises the topic areas in which the FSA says it “expects to take forward new science and evidence activities, including, where necessary, issuing requests for science and evidence proposals.”

A spokesperson said the publication of the plan would inform stakeholders, and provides an opportunity for comments and suggestions on how best to progress some of the strategic science challenges facing the FSA.

“We hope the plan will encourage stakeholders to help us identify whether there is any on-going or completed work we should take into account when considering future science and evidence gathering funding, and whether there is scope to work more collaboratively on these or future issues,”​ they told this publication.

The FSA said the key priorities for the year are:

  • microbiological food safety
  • future meat controls and related food and feed hygiene policy
  • chemical safety of food – including metals and organic contaminants
  • food law enforcement – including imported foods and food safety management systems
  • ‘cross-cutting’ research areas – including research into consumer willingness to pay, regulatory behaviours, and strategic challenges.

In addition the document outlines specific projects on topics of diet and health that will be funded by FSA in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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