The achievement of the FSA’s strategic goal of ‘Food We Can Trust’ will require a fundamental redesign of the FSA’s regulatory role and of the way in which regulation is delivered for the benefit of consumers.
In a changing and uncertain world how can we make sure food is both safe and what it says it is?
We live in challenging times. There’s more demand for food, increasing pressure on resources, uncertain production due to climate change and an increasing number of new food suppliers.
These changes affect us all and make us think about how we regulate food businesses to guarantee people continue to have food they can trust.
For many years we’ve had an inspection model that includes sending local authority inspectors to look at how businesses are providing assurance to consumers in relation to food standards and hygiene. We believe this is a resource intensive way to maintain confidence that food is safe and what it says it is and we believe there are other options also worth exploring as a means of ensuring consumer protection.
We want to change the way the FSA and local authorities regulate food businesses and ensure we protect people for the future in a modern, global food system.
What will the new model for regulation look like?
The new model will move away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to regulation. We understand that food businesses come in many different shapes and sizes. We are proposing having a regulatory framework that can be adapted according to different types of food businesses.
For example, many big businesses have robust auditing and sampling regimes in place to ensure the food they provide to consumers is safe and what it says it is. We want to make the most of this data and use it to inform our approach, rather than overlooking this valuable resource.
We are still in the process of working up the details of our new regulatory model and how it will work. However, what is clear is that we want local authorities, businesses and consumers to be involved in the design of this new model for ensuring food is safe and what it says it is.
We want to listen to the views of those with an interest in food standards and safety and to capture the insights and knowledge that already exists in an open and transparent way. We want to hear the ideas, concerns and thoughts of all those with an interest. This open approach will mean we can design the most effective regulatory model for a modern and global food system.