Food Standards Agency Changes
Food business readers and our clients in particular will be aware that food safety issues have, since 2000, been carried out under the auspices of the non-ministerial Food Standards Agency. It appears the powers and remit of the agency are being somewhat diluted with supposedly non food safety issues being transferred away from them to Minister controlled departments putting some things back into the political arena.
Nutrition and front of pack labelling matters in England are transferring to Department of Health; country of origin labelling and compositional matters are transferring to DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs).
How will these changes affect you?
In hospitality, catering and small retail businesses probably not very much as your interface will still be with your local EHO or Trading Standards officer. One topic which will be reviewed which does affect caterers is the proposal for nutritional information to be added to menus. For those of you in manufacturing and major retail you will be faced with dealing with legislation from a variety of sources and greater confusion. Looks like joined up thinking on food matters is a thing of the past.
The cynical amongst us may ask why do this now?
Cost saving is clearly one Government priority but could it be that the Food Standards Agency has been too successful and active in food composition and labelling? Bigger businesses have not always been happy at the direction taken on compositional matters, e.g. reductions in salt content and ‘traffic light’ labelling proposals, and will no doubt have been lobbying the new Government to ease the potential burden on businesses.
Whatever the reason however in it’s press release the Government is assuring the public they can have confidence in food safety. We have put a link to the press release on our website.
(Please excuse us for sending the current rush of Information Updates close together - we have had issues with our email hosting which put this out of action for a while. As you might expect we now need to catch up a little).