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FSA international work

We have a network of contacts around the world to ensure FSA messages can reach a wide audience and the FSA is able to benefit from the most up-to-date food safety thinking.
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The FSA works in international fora to safeguard food entering the UK and to be at the forefront of international developments in food safety. We work with our partners to influence international food safety standards. This enables us to ensure that global standards protect consumers in the UK. 

This page lists some examples of how the we engage internationally. For more information, please email the EU and International Strategy Team at eu.international@food.gov.uk

Codex Alimentarius Commission

The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice. The UK is an active member of Codex.

Agreed standards are voluntary and implementation by member countries is therefore not automatic. However, Codex standards are recognised as reference texts for trade disputes brought before a World Trade Organization (WTO) Disputes Panel.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the lead UK Government Department for Codex. The FSA takes the lead in many of the vertical committees dealing with food hygiene, food additives, methods analysis and sampling, food contaminants and imports import and export certification systems. 

For more information about Codex, refer to Defra’s information on the Codex standards.

FSA Director, Global Affairs, Steve Wearne is a Vice-Chair of Codex. 

Scientific Groups

At the core of the FSA’s values is that our policy and regulatory decisions are science and evidence based. We advocate that science remains at the heart of international policymaking. We participate in a wide range of international scientific groups in areas such as social science, regulatory economics and food allergens. 

The FSA provides support for UK experts to engage in expert committees, for example the:

  • European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel on Food Contact Material, Enzymes and Processing Aids
  • biannual World Health Organization (WHO) Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) 
  • International Commission on the Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) – this is a leading source for independent scientific advice to international standard setting bodies

International platforms

International settings provide a platform to share learning, access worldwide expertise and opportunities to collaborate on multinational food safety challenges. We have benefited by pooling resources and sharing access to the latest innovation. The UK attends and contributes to international meetings to learn or share best practice.

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

EFSA is an independent source of scientific advice on existing and emerging risks associated with the food chain. 

As the risk assessor, EFSA produces scientific opinions and advice to provide a foundation for European policies and legislation and to support the European Commission, European Parliament and EU member states. EFSA works in close collaboration with national authorities and in open consultation with its stakeholders. EFSA's remit covers food and feed safety, nutrition, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health.

After the 31 January 2020, EU rules, including on food and feed, will continue to apply during the transition period.