FSA Welcomes National Audit Office Report

The Food Standards Agency Chief Executive Jason Feeney has welcomed the National Audit Office report ‘Ensuring food safety and standards’ published today.

The report has made the following recommendations for the FSA. That we should:

  • establish the role that sampling plays in reducing risks to consumers
  • address gaps in outcome-based measures and targets for assessing compliance with food safety and composition standards
  • press ahead with its ambition to introduce mandatory display of hygiene ratings in food businesses in England
  • address gaps in the enforcement powers available to the Food Crime Unit

In addition, the report says that:

  • the departments in the food regulation system should work together to take decisions on the level of government funding required to ensure that food is safe to eat and what it says it is
  • post EU Exit the FSA should work closely with the other departments in the regulatory system to evaluate the medium- and longer-term impacts of EU exit on the capacity of the food regulation system and potential shortfalls in resources

Jason Feeney said:

'This is a thorough and detailed report into the effectiveness of the current regulatory arrangements to ensure food is safe and is what it says it is.

'The recommendations in the report make good sense and I am pleased that we are already taking steps to address the proposals aimed specifically at us in the report. In particular we acknowledge that our sampling strategy needs to include an assessment of the amount of and approach to sampling that will ensure consumer confidence. As recommended we are also pressing ahead with developing indicators to assess local authority performance and to ensure our Food Crime Unit is effective.

'We’re delighted that the NAO supports our aim to introduce mandatory display of hygiene ratings in food businesses in England, and we are making firm plans to provide our Food Crime Unit with the powers it needs to work independently.

'As also recommended in the report, we will work very closely with other parts of government to determine the level of government funding required to ensure food safety and standards, and post EU Exit, will evaluate with other government departments the medium and longer-term impacts on the food regulation system.'