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FSA Board Meeting - March 2024: Agenda and Papers

Agenda and papers for the FSA Board meeting on 20 March 2024. Crowne Plaza, Wellington Street, Leeds, LS1 4DL

The agenda for this meeting includes:

  • Governance Review
  • Regulated Products
  • Precision Breeding
  • Foodborne Disease
  • Strategic Risk Management
  • Report from the Chair of the Welsh Food Advisory Committee

9:00 - Chair's Introduction

Professor Susan Jebb presents the minutes and actions from the previous FSA Board meeting in December 2023 and presents the Chair's report.

FSA 24-03-01 - Minutes of the FSA Board Meeting on 13 December 2023

FSA 24-03-02 - Actions Arising - March 2024

09:20 - FSA Executive Governance Review: Next Steps (FSA 24-03-03)

Katie Pettifer and Sam Faulkner introduce a paper proposing a Board Operating Framework as the central guide to the FSA’s governance structures. 

FSA 24-03-03 - FSA Executive Governance Review: Next Steps

09:40 - Regulated Products (FSA 24-03-04)

Rebecca Sudworth, Peter Quigley, and Chris Rundle introduce this paper.

FSA 24-03-04 - Regulated Products

10:20 - Precision Breeding – Response to Public Consultation and Next Steps (FSA 24-03-05)

Rebecca Sudworth and James Cooper introduce a paper setting out the background and conclusions of the FSA's consultation on proposals for a new framework in England for the regulation of Precision Bred Organisms, plans for secondary legislation, and next steps.

FSA 24-03-05 - Precision Breeding – Response to Public Consultation and Next Steps

10:50 - Foodborne Disease Policy Overview  (FSA 24-03-06)

Rebecca Sudworth and Anthony Wilson introduce a paper giving an overview of foodborne disease in the UK and how the FSA and others throughout the food chain are mitigating the associated risks. 

FSA 24-03-06 - Foodborne Disease Policy Overview

11:20 - Break

Please note after the break the meeting will be chaired by FSA Deputy Chair, Timothy Riley, as FSA Chair, Professor Susan Jebb, has submitted apologies.

11:50 - Chief Executive’s Report to the Board (FSA 24-03-07)

Emily Miles presents the Chief Executive's report to the FSA Board.  This paper will be added on 18 March 2024.

FSA 24-03-07 - Chief Executive’s Report to the Board

12:20 - Strategic Risk Management (FSA 23-03-08)

Ruth Nolan introduces a paper reflecting the FSA’s approach to risk management, including identifying which responsibilities lie at Board, Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) or Executive level, and providing an overview of the strategic risks being managed.

FSA 23-03-08 - Strategic Risk Management

12:40 - Report from the Chair of the Welsh Food Advisory Committee (FSA 24-03-09)

Rhian Hayward presents an update on the activity of the Welsh Food Advisory Committee from the period March 2023 to February 2024.

FSA 24-03-09 - Report from the Chair of the Welsh Food Advisory Committee

12:55 - Report from the Chair of the Business Committee (INFO 24-03-01)

The Chair of the Business Committee, Timothy Riley, presents a report from the Business Committee meeting that took place on 11 March 2024.  This paper will be added on 18 March 2024.

INFO 24-03-01 - Report from the Chair of the Business Committee

13:10 - Report from the Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (INFO 24-03-02)

The Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC), Anthony Harbinson, presents a report from the ARAC meeting that took place on 5 March 2024.  This paper will be added on 18 March 2024.

INFO 24-03-02 - Report from the Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee

13:20 - Reports from the Chairs of the Food Advisory Committees (Oral Reports)

The Chairs of the Northern Ireland Food Advisory Committee (NIFAC), Anthony Harbinson, and the Wales Food Advisory Committee (WFAC), Rhian Hayward, deliver oral updates from the recent meetings of the two Committees.

13:30 - Any Other Business

13:35 - Question and Answer Session

13:45 - End of meeting

Questions to the Board

We are keen to ensure, as far as is practical, that questions are addressed in the discussion at the Board meeting. Notwithstanding discussions on the day, all questions will receive a written reply within 20 working days of the meeting.

Please note questions are not listed below in the order in which they were received.

They are grouped according to the Board paper with which they are concerned and in the order of the papers as they appear on the Board agenda.

Questions on the Foodborne Disease Policy Overview paper (FSA 24/03/06)

Questions 1-8 are from Steve Nash, Campaigner on E.coli O157

The following questions are also asked due to the intention of the Food Standards Act 1999 that was the legislation that introduce the FSA which states: 

“The main objective of the Agency in carrying out its functions is to protect public health from risks which may arise in connection with the consumption of food (including risks caused by the way in which it is produced or supplied) and otherwise to protect the interests of consumers in relation to food” 

Question 1

Recent media reports indicate that people in England are facing food poisoning ‘Russian roulette’ as illnesses soared due to hospital admissions for Salmonella, between April 2022 and March 2023, according to NHS data. Campylobacter and E.coli hospital admissions have also reached record highs in the past two years. Surely now it is time to reflect and consider contributing factors such as any failings in horizon scanning, food policy and enforcement etc may have also contributed to this rise?

Question 2

Do having thresholds for foodborne illnesses such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli O157 and Listeria monocytogenes indicate that whatever the number of confirmed cases for any given foodborne illnesses, that these are acceptable to the Agency and its Board? 

Question 3

Have the FSA including the Board, considered that having thresholds may be seen as a lack of ambition in trying to reduce the number of foodborne illness cases, rather than setting targeted reductions for all foodborne diseases, which even if they do fail, could appear to be a more proactive, positive and open approach?

Question 4 

Given that detection methods have improved, do the FSA and Board agree that this will lead to more reported and confirmed cases. This could lead to a more accurate number of cases being reported and  more sources of cases and outbreaks being identified by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). This may then enable the Agency to target those food businesses who are not compliant, as well as other Government departments responsible for those cases that are in the environment?

Question 5

Refers to [9] at the bottom of the board paper. Are the FSA and board saying that they are going to include the total number of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) non O157 and O157 cases together as one total figure for the number of cases. Also allowing an estimate of 50% coming from a food source until a more accurate percentage can be identified via scientific results and its data from the improved detection methods?  If so, is this being done in conjunction with the UKHSA?

“[9] Many types of E. coli bacteria carry one or more shigatoxin-producing genes (making them shigatoxin-producing E. coli, or STEC). The commonest type is called O157, but we are increasingly finding disease caused by other types, partly as a result of new more accurate testing. This means that we may have an incomplete estimate if we only look at O157. In IID2 we estimated that half of STEC cases (O157 and non-O157) come from food”. 

Question 6

The board paper mentions about being proportionate, which basically means being equivalent. “Individuals and carers are the group bearing the largest cost of FBD in the UK at £8.9bn in 2018”. This was published in 2020 in “The Burden of Foodborne Disease in the UK”. However, these sufferers of food borne illness are not entitled to freely know what food businesses were involved in their cases or outbreaks in the food supply chain, where traceability is a requirement and where government reports etc conceal this information. Is that proportionate to the sufferers or carers?

Question 7

Do the FSA and Board feel that the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) launched in 2010, previously known as “Scores on the Doors Scheme on Hygiene in Food Businesses” should be made mandatory? This was first consulted on in 2008 and would partly help in England to drive up hygiene standards and therefore have some impact on reducing foodborne illness. Consumers in the rest of the UK (where it is mandatory) benefit from, making an informed choice etc. The National Audit Office report of 12th June 2019 also recommended making it mandatory. When is it planned to introduce legislation to do so? 

Question 8

Have the FSA and the Board considered ending their relationship with their service provider at the next contract end date for Official Meat Control services in meat plants throughout England and Wales due to the shortage of vets which has been ongoing since at least 2018? This could adversely effect Foodborne disease and has demonstrated the service provider is in no better position to overcome this problem than the FSA are. There has also been an increase in the service provider’s contract payments. Does the board agree that the FSA require both short and long term sustainable plans to overcome these problems? In the short term, this will most probably lead to an increase in pay to attract suitable candidates. Longer term there will be need for training of vets with a comprehensive package to retain their services for working in an unpleasant environment.

Questions on the Precision Breeding – Response to Public Consultation and Next Steps paper (FSA 24/03/05)

Questions 9-13 are from Steven Jacobs, Business Development Manager, Organic Farmers & Growers CI

Question 9

Will the FSA board acknowledge that in order to safeguard supply chains, ensure market confidence, and protect the public interest then food business operators who would potentially come into contact with products containing Precision Bred Organisms will require sufficiently detailed, and timely reporting of, information that will ensure they can put into practice full traceability when asked to do so in the event of food fraud suspicion in general and more specifically under organic food regulations?

Without a way of identifying a Precision Bred Organism (PBO), through analysis or supply chain traceability, it will be almost impossible to identify where they are. Without PBO identification organic operators at any point in the food or feed supply chain will be unable to comply with the organic regulations in England, Scotland, Wales or in Northern Ireland.

Question 10

Would FSA Board members agree that the detail required for food and feed ingredients that may contain PBOs will need to be fully traceable for organic food business?

Can the board accept that a level of detail, such as is the case with existing GMO legislation, would help to ensure PBOs are visible to food and feed operators all along the supply chain, including storage, distribution and retail?

We would offer the example of the publicly available register currently in operation for GMO plant varieties in the EU. Main register webpage and two examples - Interrogate with Maize here and here.

Question 11

In response to questions submitted by Steven Jacobs (on behalf of OF&G) to the FSA Board meeting March 2023 the Board made the following 

"The FSA Board is aware of the concerns of stakeholders including stakeholders representing the organic sector. We will continue to consult with stakeholders as the policy develops and as we learn more about the kinds of precision bred products that may come to market in future.

"Organic farming policy sits within Defra’s remit and FSA policy officials have discussed the concerns raised in your questions to the FSA Board with their counterparts at Defra.

"The Government is not amending the organic regulations as a consequence of this Act and as such, precision bred crops will still be regulated as GMOs for the purposes of the organic regulations. This means that precision bred crops cannot be classed as organic."

Our question today is directly related to sale and distribution of organic food products under UK organic food regulations:

On what legal basis will the FSA refer in order to maintain protection with regard to organic businesses who are processing, distributing and 
selling organic food to British shoppers?

a. Note - Under UK law Organic products must not be processed with foodstuffs containing genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. 

b. Defra have stated that under UK law all PBOs are to be classed as GMOs with regard to UK organic regulations.

Question 12

Will the board accept that the FSA and Defra are both responsible for food safety, and are both responsible for negative economic impacts arising when businesses operating across various parts of food and feed supply chains are found to be in breach of regulations beyond what is required under general food safety legislative frameworks?

Question 13

What legal routes would be open to victims of food crime stemming from accidental or deliberately fraudulent placement of product containing GMOs on any UK markets, particularly if this happens under the guise of light-touch PBO (triage 1 as an example)?

Questions 15-21 are from Pat Thomas, Director, Beyond GM

Question 15

FSA has stated that PBOs do not require traceability beyond what is mandated in General Food Law (Summary of Stakeholder Responses 7.1). This has implications for imported PBOs. Having rejected the conclusions of its own literature review - that analytical methods for the detection of PBOs should be developed in order to facilitate traceability - what measures has the FSA put in place to identify and trace illegal use and import of unauthorised PBO organisms and the food/feed containing these organisms as ingredients?

Question 16

The Genetic Technology Act allows developers to define for themselves which information is commercially sensitive and, as a result, will be withheld from the register. Beyond personal information about the developer “commercially sensitive” is not defined. 1) How does the FSA define “commercially sensitive”? “2) With regard to the FSA register, how will FSA handle conflicts with Defra if information relevant to the safety of the product is withheld by the developer and will FSA or Defra be taking the lead on such decisions?

Question 17

The Board Paper (Annex B, 1.3) suggests that consumer response to the consultation was low compared to the Defra consultation. FSA further suggests that consumer responses “may not be representative of the wider population.”

1) Please state the evidence on which you are basing this statement.

2) Beyond sharing news about the consultation with the business and precision breeding sector, and the specialist press associated with these, what steps did FSA take to ensure consumers/citizens were aware of the consultation?

3) Please list the mainstream outlets where the consultation was publicised in order to encourage a good consumer response.

4) How does the total number of respondents and consumer/citizen respondents for this consultation compare with other FSA public consultations?

Question 18

With regard to citizen responses, there is an error in your reporting of the number of respondents to the Defra consultation. In the Board Paper (Annex B, 1.3) FSA states “By comparison, Defra’s consultation on the regulation of genetic technologies in January 2021 received a total of 6440 responses, including 3083 responses from individuals.” In fact, the 3083 figure does not represent individuals who responded but the total number of responses via Citizen Space. This total breaks down as follows: Individuals = 2750; businesses= 198; nongovernmental organisations = 100; academia = 24; public sector bodies = 11).

A further 3347 respondents used the email platform which Defra made available (and these were removed from the final analysis). Will you correct this error in your report to the Board?

Question 19

In several places in the Summary of Stakeholder Responses (1.5, 2.6, 5.22, 7.19, 9.22, 10.4, Annex D), the FSA states that non-safety related consumer labelling is out of scope or outside of its remit. However food safety is not the FSA’s only remit. The FSA must also ensure that food/feed is not marketed in a way that misleads consumers. Will FSA publish evidence of the independent considerations it has made and any advice it has given to Defra on what steps should be taken to ensure that, in the absence of labelling to identify food/feed containing PBOs, these products will not mislead consumers?

Question 20

The FSA consultation document repeats the ACNFP’s claims that there is “no evidence that PBOs are intrinsically more hazardous than TBOs” (8.8) and referred respondents to the ACNFP statements on this. However, none of the ACNFP’s three statements on the regulatory process and the safety of PBOs ( make reference to the studies and/or source material that informs this conclusion.

Respondents, therefore, had no way of checking the validity of this claim. ACNFP claims for the safety of precision bred organisms, as referenced in the consultation pack (p5, ref 3), refer to comments made in a meeting and have not, in spite of repeated requests from stakeholders such as ourselves, been supported by the publication of any credible evidence. Will FSA please publish this information forthwith – or provide an explanation as to why this information is being withheld?

Question 21

Responses to the FSA consultation show high levels of consumer opposition to the deregulation of PBOs. Some of these are related to science and safety but others are social, ethical and values-led in nature. The FSA Board takes advice on scientific matters from the ACNFP and its subcommittee.

1) Does the Board also take advice on social issues in relation to PBOs from its Advisory Committee for Social Science (ACSS) and is this advice published in the same way as the ACNFP advice? The published response to the consultation from the Royal Society of Biology, for example, suggests that RSB has had an opportunity to feed into ACSS processes and states that the ACSS has “carefully considered this in its advice to the Board”. In our engagement with the FSA, we have never been given the opportunity to feed into ACSS processes.

2) Can the FSA please list the organisations that have been invited to feed into ACSS considerations of PBOs in the food/feed system.

3) Is ACSS advice to the Board publicly available? If so, please provide links to this advice; if not, will FSA undertake to immediately publish all advice to the board from the ACSS on social, ethical and values-led issues around PBOs – or explain why this information is withheld?

Question 22 - Patricia Walters, Private individual

The majority of respondents to the GMO/PBO consultation expressed disagreement with the FSA’s proposals and clearly expressed a preference that precision bred organisms should be labelled and traceable through the food/feed system. The consultation report has set this opposition aside as largely irrelevant to government and by extension FSA policy (Board Paper 4.2, 4.3, Annex B 1.7, 2.3 and Summary of Responses 1.8, 3.11, 3.18, 3.19, 5.11, 5.41, 7.14 and all statistical tables).

The framing and tone used throughout the report is dismissive of the views of the majority of respondents in favour of the minority view.

Given that the FSA is meant to act independently and serve the interests of the public, are Board members comfortable with the report’s characterisation of the majority public view and the way conclusions have been constructed around it?

Questions 23-29 are from Claire Robinson, Co-Director, GMWatch

Question 23

In its response to the public consultation, the FSA says it relies on "the best and most recent scientific evidence" and that it obtains this from the ACNFP, which some respondents, including GMWatch, have pointed out is compromised by conflicts of interest with the GMO industry.

The FSA says that inquiries regarding the recruitment process for ACNFP should be addressed to that body because it is "independent" of the FSA. However, the FSA has chosen to rely on the ACNFP for its scientific advice and the FSA itself claims to be "independent". This would appear to any reasonable person to mean that the FSA is free to choose which advice it relies on. Therefore is not the FSA responsible for relying on non-independent and conflicted advice? For evidence of ACFFP's conflicts of interest, see this and this peer-reviewed analysis.

Question 24

The FSA has been shown to be compromised by conflicts of interest on its Boards, Committees, and Councils. Does the FSA argue that it is not responsible for the makeup of its own Boards, Committees, and Councils? Given that makeup, how does it justify its claim to independence and serving the public interest?

Question 25

The FSA refers people with concerns about the conflicts of interest of the ACNFP to the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees and Councils: CoPSAC 2021. However, this code does not prevent people with conflicts of interest with industry serving on Scientific Advisory Committees like the ACNFP. It merely requires that people with conflicts of interest declare them.

How does the FSA reconcile its claims of "independence" and as serving the public interest with its adherence to this flawed code of practice?

What steps has the FSA taken to ensure that it can genuinely claim to be independent in spite of the inadequacy of the code of practice?

Question 26

Huw D. Jones has a history of conflicts of interest with industry, as well as being a longstanding lobbyist for GMO deregulation. He serves on ACRE and the ACNFP, with the latter body advising the UK Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland on GM foods. This double role is a problem because it works against the independence of both committees, suggesting that they could be working in lock-step with each other. It also means that in his role on one committee, he could be sitting in judgement on a decision made in the other committee – an example of "marking your own homework".

How does the FSA justify relying on the advice of this person while at the same time claiming to be independent and serving the public interest?

Question 27

In its consultation pack, the FSA cites the ACNFP as saying there is "no evidence that PBOs are intrinsically more hazardous than TBOs".

However, the ACNFP has nowhere provided the evidence supporting this statement and our attempts to obtain it from the FSA have drawn a blank. If the ACNFP means there is no evidence that GM PBOs are intrinsically more hazardous than TBOs because scientists have not looked at this issue, then this is not evidence of safety, but a case of ignorance: "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence [of risk]".

Does the FSA agree that in the interests of evidence-based policy, the ACNFP and the FSA must either publish the studies that show that GM PBOs are as safe as TBOs, or they must honestly state that the safety/risk profile of GM PBOs is not known and that they are basing their policy on assumptions and belief?

Question 28

If the FSA is independent of government, why does it state that it cannot impose labelling on GM PBOs because the government doesn't want it? Note that the Genetic Technology Act does not forbid labelling.

Question 29

Most people who responded to the FSA's consultation disagreed with the deregulation proposals and said they wanted labelling and traceability throughout the food/feed supply chains. The FSA portrays these people – which represent the majority of responses – as opposing the government's and FSA's intentions and "opposing the use of modern biotechnologies in general" and on this basis, dismisses their views as irrelevant.

Yet it does not symmetrically apply the same standard to the opposite (minority) point of view – in favour of the government's and FSA's proposals. And the minority point of view is the one that the FSA is determined to follow.

This is an insulting, anti-democratic, and unscientific response to a public consultation. It is equivalent to asking the public for their views on airport expansion and then dismissing all those who oppose it, on the grounds that the government wants airport expansion.

The FSA's response is also inaccurate and misleading. There is no evidence to suggest that the respondents who want GMO labelling and traceability oppose "the use of modern biotechnologies in general"; the consultation was not designed to ascertain the existence of such a generalised opposition. Our experience is that people's attitudes are more nuanced. For example, GMWatch supports the use of the modern biotechnology of marker assisted selection (unencumbered by patents) in combination with conventional breeding. Similarly, many people who oppose agricultural GMOs are in favour of the use of modern biotechnology for certain medical applications; and some people who support certain agricultural uses of GM still want labelling and traceability.

Given the above, will the FSA amend its report to:

i) clarify why it fails to apply symmetrical evaluation standards to both points of view (in favour of and against the government's/FSA's proposals)

ii) recognise the nuances of public attitudes to GMOs and their regulation, as well as the limitations of the conclusions that can be drawn from the responses to the consultation (opposition to "the use of modern biotechnologies in general" was not surveyed)?

Questions 30 - 44 are from Leonie Nimmo, Executive Director, GM Freeze

Question 30

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) will be aware that in February the European Parliament voted to require labelling and traceability of organisms developed using ‘New Genomic Techniques’ (NGTs). Should the UK persist with plans for no labelling or traceability of ‘Precision Bred Organisms’ (PBOs), this is likely to lead to non-tariff trade barriers.

The Government’s Impact Assessment of the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill states: “Most likely, new trade barriers would come in the form of checks and certification requirements on UK food exports entering the EU’s single market. This would not only affect products exported to the EU which contain PB plant material, but also those in the same product categories which do not.”

This acknowledgement that all food and feed trade exports with the EU could be subject to non-tariff barriers is not reflected in the FSA’s plans or documentation. Indeed, the board papers for this meeting ‘Response to Public Consultation and Next Steps’ do not mention Europe once.

What is the FSA doing to ensure that the livelihoods of British farmers and food producers will be protected in the face of burdensome non-tariff trade barriers that result from the FSA’s proposals?

Question 31

The FSA’s ‘Response to Public Consultation and Next Steps’ states that it does not plan to revisit or reverse its decision not to develop analytical methods for the detection of precision bred products. Has it taken into account the European Parliament’s votes on labelling and traceability, as well as the fact that the fact that the European Union is actively funding the development of detection strategies for NGTs, for example, via the Darwin project? The UK will fall behind scientific advances in this area if it fails to invest in detection strategies, and this is likely to create significant disadvantages in the event of future non-tariff trade barriers.

Question 32

In the Government’s 2022 report on ‘Statistics of scientific procedures on living animals’ it is stated that “policies and legislation that influence the number and type of procedures are the responsibility of different government departments”. Specifically, that food safety legislation is the FSA’s responsibility.

a. Has the FSA estimated how the proposed legislative framework will impact the number of procedures performed for the purpose of the creation and breeding of genetically altered animals?

b. Will the framework lead to an increase in the number of experimental animal procedures in the UK, year on year? Will the bespoke safety testing conducted or commissioned by the FSA involve animal testing, and are developers likely to use animal testing to generate safety data?

Any mention of animal testing is absent from the ‘Response to Public Consultation and Next Steps’ and the ‘Summary of Responses’, despite it having been raised in the consultation. Please clarify.

Question 33

The ‘Summary of stakeholder responses’ reasserts that safety information for a particular population group can be required as appropriate.

How does the FSA intend to honour this pledge when there will be no way to identify PBOs, which may become mixed with non-‘PBOs’?

Furthermore, safety labelling appears on all packaging, not just on products sold to consumers with particular health conditions. Therefore, how is it possible to do this whilst also not label ‘PBOs’?

Question 34

Who would bear the cost in the event of a safety-related product recall, given that – with no labelling or traceability - all products in a product category would need to be recalled, not just the ‘PBO’ ones?

Question 35

If there is no traceability or labelling, how will it be possible to identify gene edited products that undergo a significant production step in Wales or Scotland, in order for them to subsequently be authorised and labelled?

Question 36

The ‘Response to Public Consultation and Next Steps’ and the ‘Summary of Responses’ make no mention of conditions of use being attached to Tier 2 ‘PBOs’, as mentioned in the consultation. Is this still a prospect? If so, how would these be maintained or monitored, given the absence of labelling or traceability?

Question 37

Will consumers be able to link the PBO products that they buy with entries on the register?

Question 38

The ‘Summary of Responses’ states “there is no justification or need to explicitly distinguish between PBOs authorised via Tier 1 and Tier 2 on the public register” on the basis that the organisms “have the same regulatory status”. However, PBOs from the two tiers have different risk profiles.

Is it the FSA’s position that consumers and other interested parties have no right to know this information, or is it rather the case that the FSA is following the wishes of developers in this regard? If the FSA refuses to publish which tier the organisms have been authorised under, will it be impossible in future for the public to know what proportion of PBOs fall under the different tiers?

Question 39

What evidence has the ACNFP assessed in order to decide that there is ‘no evidence that PBOs are intrinsically more hazardous than TBOs’

Question 40

How is shifting the costs of segregation onto producers and distributers who choose not to use 'PBOs' compatible with the polluter pays principle, as outlined in the Government’s ‘Environmental principles policy statement’.

Question 41

The FSA has avoided reference to or consulting on patents in its work on ‘PBOs,’ although these have formed a significant aspect of negotiations in Europe on NGTs. Does this mean that patents and intellectual property are outside of the FSA’s remit, or outside of its competence? What information can the FSA provide on the patent regimes that will be in place with the new legislative framework?

Question 42

How is it possible to maintain principles of non-discrimination in trade if a product can be imported into England and then sold in Wales or Scotland, but not imported into Wales or Scotland?

Question 43

The ‘‘Response to Public Consultation and Next Steps’ states: “Our analysis has not identified any reason to revisit the fundamental decisions made by the FSA Board in September 2023.” Given the level of public opposition to the FSA’s plans made apparent in the consultation, what if anything would have warranted a change in approach?

Question 44

The ‘‘Response to Public Consultation and Next Steps’ states that the Board has provided a steer that the new system should be responsive to future scientific developments and agile enough to keep pace with both innovation and evidence of safety. Does the Board accept that the FSA’s decision not to invest in detection techniques will have a detrimental impact on its ability to be agile and responsive to future scientific developments?

[Question 14 is not included here as it does not relate to a paper on the agenda for this meeting.]