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FSA in Northern Ireland publishes its Annual Report and Accounts for 2019/20

Northern Ireland specific
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today published its Northern Ireland Annual Report and Accounts for the past financial year. The report covers our performance and activities in 2019/20 across England, Wales and Northern Ireland at a net cost of £112.6 million.

In her foreword to the accounts, FSA Chairman Heather Hancock explains that the UK’s exit from the EU dominated her Board’s agenda over the last 12 months and that the FSA delivered on its Brexit objectives. She acknowledges that we are facing an unprecedented set of challenges associated with coronavirus. She writes:

‘I am pleased to say that the FSA is doing its part to ensure that people in the UK are supplied with safe food. The same resilience and ingenuity that the department applied to our Brexit preparations over the last year are being utilised again to meet these challenges. The FSA has 20 years of experience in incident management and risk communication, underpinned by the weight of FSA science. We have the capacity, expertise and relationships with the food industry and local authority enforcement to ensure that food safety does not become an issue for UK citizens during this crisis.’

Chief Executive Emily Miles explains in her foreword that there is ample evidence throughout this year’s annual report of the FSA doing the day job well. On food hypersensitivity, one of our four strategic priorities, she explains: 

‘We have worked hard over the last year to improve the quality of life for people with food hypersensitivity, this followed a series of tragic allergy related deaths. We have progressed the delivery of the prepacked for direct sale labelling requirements, updated our food business and local authority allergy guidance, held the first FSA allergy symposium and our #easytoASK campaign has raised awareness of the allergy labelling rules with consumers and businesses.’ 

Read the report to find out more about these and other activities and performance during 2019/20. 

Our year in numbers 

  • We published research that estimated 2.4 million people suffered from a foodborne infectious intestinal disease (2018)
  • We estimated £9.1bn as the societal cost of foodborne illness (2018), of which £3bn is attributed to 13 foodborne pathogens and £6bn is unattributed to foodborne illness
  • Our public attitudes tracker showed 73% of respondents were aware of the FSA and trusted the FSA to do its job
  • 152 out of 384 local authorities connected to the improved Register a food business online service (31 March 2020)
  • EU Exit: £19m additional ring-fenced funding secured to support FSA preparations
  • Food hypersensitivity: £4.6m funding for key activities in 2019/20 and 2020/21
  • 79.20% businesses in Northern Ireland supplying food directly to consumers achieved a food hygiene rating of 5 (‘Very good’)
  • 100% meat food business operators rated ‘satisfactory’ or above for compliance
  • FSA notified of and investigated 2,479 food, animal feed and environmental contamination incidents
  • Food safety in the home: 67% reported behaviours are in line with recommended food safety practice (Food and You survey)
  • Food crime: 200+ people warned by the National Food Crime Unit of ‘fat‑burning’ DNP risks after allegedly purchasing it
  • Northern Ireland nutrition: 11,986 more recipes inputted by users into MenuCal
  • The FSA's total science and research spend: £12.7m

Being the best organisation we can be:

  • We are a ‘High performing’ Civil Service Department: 67% employee engagement score in Civil Service People Survey
  • We delivered new pay award strategy: 1.5% minimum increase of basic pay guaranteed for eligible staff.