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FSA Board & Business Committee Meeting - June 2022

The agenda and papers for the FSA Board Meeting and Business Committee Meeting on Wednesday 15 June 2022. The video recording and minutes have been added following the meeting.

Last updated: 1 September 2022
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Minutes and the video recording of the FSA Board & Business Committee Meeting on Wednesday 15 June 2022.

At the FSA Board meeting on 15 June 2022, held in Newcastle, the challenges many people are facing from the effects of rising food prices and the impact on food supply caused by the war in Ukraine were discussed. 

The full agendas and meeting papers for June 2022 are available to view and you can watch FSA Business & Board Meeting - June 2022 on YouTube.

Video of FSA Board and Business Committee meeting - June 2022

 

Minutes of FSA Board meeting - June 2022

The minutes of the June 2022 Board and Business Committee meetings are published following their public ratification at September 2022's meeting in Belfast.

Agenda and papers for the FSA Board meeting on 15 June 2022 at The Core, Bath Lane, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE4 5TF.

The agenda for this meeting includes:

  • FSA Response to Ukraine Conflict Supply Chain Disruption: Ingredient Substitution and Labelling
  • Annual Science Update From FSA’s Chief Scientific Adviser
  • Foresight Function and Horizon Scanning – Annual Update to the Board
  • Food Hypersensitivity (FHS) – update on workstreams and recommended next steps
  • The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill
  • Household Food Insecurity
  • The FSA’s International Objectives and Priorities
  • Report from the Director of the FSA in Northern Ireland
  • Final Report from the External Effectiveness Review of the FSA Board

The FSA Business Committee Meeting follows the FSA Board meeting.

09:00 - Chair's Introduction

Professor Susan Jebb presents the minutes and actions from the previous FSA Board meeting in March 2022.  Director of Communication Steven Pollock shares the questions received in advance of the Board meeting and Susan Jebb presents the Chair's report.

FSA 22-06-01 - Minutes of the FSA Board Meeting on 9 March 2022

FSA 22-06-02 - Actions Arising – Board Meeting

09:25 - Chief Executive’s Report to the Board (FSA 22/06/03)

Emily Miles presents the Chief Executive's report to the FSA Board.

FSA 22-06-02 - Chief Executive's Report to the Board

09:55 - FSA Response to Ukraine Conflict Supply Chain Disruption: Ingredient Substitution and Labelling (FSA 22/06/04)

Rebecca Sudworth presents a paper providing a consolidated overview of the FSA’s response to supply chain disruption arising from the conflict in Ukraine; setting out the provisional tests that the FSA has developed to support decision-making that have been applied in respect of sunflower oil substitutions and labelling during this incident; and setting out the proposed approach to and associated planning assumptions, for a return to the food labelling status quo.

FSA 22-06-04 - FSA Response to Ukraine Conflict Supply Chain Disruption: Ingredient Substitution and Labelling

10:10 - Annual Science Update From FSA’s Chief Scientific Adviser (FSA 22/06/05)

Robin May, the FSA's Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) presents an annual report giving an overview of the role of the FSA CSA, science within the FSA, and the review of the Scientific Advisory Committees (SACs).

FSA 22-06-05 - Annual Science Update From FSA’s Chief Scientific Adviser 

10:30 - Foresight Function and Horizon Scanning – Annual Update to the Board (FSA 22/06/06)

Julie Pierce, Michelle Patel, and Sam Faulkner present an annual update on work to develop and implement the FSA's foresight function.

FSA 22-06-06 - Foresight Function and Horizon Scanning – Annual Update to the Board

Rebecca Sudworth and Sushma Acharya present a paper providing an update on the work carried out as part of the Food Hypersensitivity (FHS) Programme and the proposed approach for the next phase.

FSA 22-06-07 - Food Hypersensitivity (FHS) – update on workstreams and recommended next steps

11:10 - Break (20 mins)

11:30 - The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill (FSA 22/06/08)

Rebecca Sudworth and Peter Quigley give an update on the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022 and outlines the parliamentary process and timelines involved.

FSA 22-06-08 - The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill

11:45 - Household Food Insecurity (FSA 22/06/09)

Katie Pettifer, Sam Faulkner and Michelle Patel present  paper summarising the evidence about levels of household food insecurity and food affordability, and the impact on consumers and the food system and drawing out the consequences for the FSA. 

FSA 22-06-09 - Household Food Insecurity

12:05 - The FSA’s International Objectives and Priorities (FSA 22/06/10)

Anjali Juneja and Laura Phelps present a paper setting out the FSA’s international objectives and priorities for the next 12-18 months.

FSA 22-06-10 - The FSA’s International Objectives and Priorities

12:20 - Report from the Director of the FSA in Northern Ireland (FSA 22/06/11)

Maria Jennings presents a paper outlining some areas of focus for the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland since the last report to the Board in September 2021.

FSA 22-06-11 - Report from the Director of the FSA in Northern Ireland

12:40 - Final Report from the External Effectiveness Review of the FSA Board (FSA 22/06/12)

Jo Clift presents an independent evaluation of the way that the FSA Board and its Committees currently conduct their business.

FSA 22-06-12 - Final Report from External Effectiveness Review of the FSA Board

12:55 - Report from Meeting of Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) (INFO 22/06/01)

Colm McKenna presents a paper giving a summary of discussions at the ARAC meeting that took place on 17 May 2022.

INFO 22-06-01 - Report from Meeting of Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC)

13:00 - Reports from the Chairs of the Food Advisory Committees (Oral Reports)

Oral reports from the Chairs of the Food Advisory Committees by Colm McKenna and Peter Price.

13:10 - Any Other Business

13:15 - Question and Answer session

13:25 - End of Board Meeting

Agenda and papers for the FSA Business Committee meeting on 15 June 2022 at The Core, Bath Lane, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE4 5TF.

The FSA Business Committee Meeting follows the FSA Board meeting.

The agenda for this meeting includes:

  • Performance and Resources Q4 2021-22.
  • Local Authority Performance Update.
  • Veterinary Resourcing Update.
  • Risk Analysis Process Update.
  • Regulated Products Service Update.

14:10 - Chair's Introduction

Professor Susan Jebb presents the minutes and actions from the previous FSA Business Committee meeting in March 2022.

FSA 22-06-13 - Minutes of the FSA Business Committee Meeting on 9 March 2022

FSA 22-06-14 - Actions Arising – Business Committee

14:15 - Chief Executive’s Report to the Business Committee

Emily Miles presents the Chief Executive's report to the FSA Business Committee.

FSA 22-06-02 - Chief Executive's Report to the Business Committee

14:35 - Performance and Resources Q4 2021-22 (FSA 22/06/16)

Tara Smith presents Quarter 4 2021-22 performance and resources update covering, Foodborne disease; FSA Sampling activities; the
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme; and the Civil Service People Survey 2021.

14:50 - Local Authority Performance Update (FSA 22/06/17)

Maria Jennings and Michael Jackson present a paper including an update on the performance of local authorities, a proposal to amend the escalation process,  an update on the development of a framework for new performance indicators and a progress update on the Local Authority Data Collection project.

FSA 22-06-17 - Local Authority Performance Update

15:05 - Veterinary Resourcing Update (FSA 22/06/18)

Junior Johnson and Richard Wynn-Davies present a paper providing an update on the latest developments in relation to the provision of Official Controls (OCs) in abattoirs in England and Wales and the work underway to prevent service disruptions in the food chain and risks to both food safety and animal health and welfare.

FSA 22-06-18 - Veterinary Resourcing Update

15:15 - Risk Analysis Process: Update to Business Committee (FSA 22/06/19a) and Regulated Products Service: Regular update to Business Committee (FSA 22/06/19b)

Rebecca Sudworth and Peter Quigley present these two papers on risk analysis activity and the current status of the regulated product service including a set of key performance indicators to assist with measuring the performance of the service as requested at the March 2022 Business Committee meeting.

FSA 22-06-19a - Risk Analysis Process Update

FSA 22-06-19b - Regulated Products Service: Regular Update to Business Committee

15:30  - Any Other Business

15:35 - End of Business Committee

 

Questions and answers to queries submitted to our Board ahead of the June 2022 meeting.

Questions for the FSA and pertaining to a paper on the meeting agenda were read out and answered at the meeting on Wednesday 15 June 2022. A recording of the meeting is available on our YouTube channel. The written answers to those questions will appear on our website within the minutes of the meeting, following ratification by the Board at September 2022's meeting.

Two questions were received which were not read out and answered at the meeting. The first did not pertain to a paper on the agenda and the second was received after the noon deadline of the day before the meeting.

Question 1 - UK Honey Regulations

Dear Secretary,

Would the board members wish to comment or amend the current UK honey regulations, given the world wide spread of honey fraud contaminated with non honey additives?

Thank you,
Martin Gilmore

Our response

Dear Mr Gilmore,

Thank you for contacting the Food Standards Agency.

While your question did not relate to a paper on the June FSA Board meeting agenda, here is our reply.

We received your enquiry on 6 June 2022 regarding whether the FSA Board wish to comment or amend the current UK honey regulations, given the worldwide spread of honey fraud contaminated with non-honey additives. 

The Honey (England) Regulations 2015 and comparable legislation for other nations within the UK set strict rules to protect this commodity, ensuring that all honey sold in the UK meets high minimum standards relating to its composition and labelling to guard against fraudulent practices. Defra is the responsible department for this legislation and for policy around food composition standards and labelling.  There are no immediate plans for Defra to amend the Honey Regulations 2015.  However, as the Government looks in the future to review retained EU law, to ensure they remain appropriate for the UK, it is envisaged that rules on honey will be reviewed over the longer term. Any changes to honey rules would be subject to a public consultation to gauge views on any proposed changes and subject to collective Government agreement.

Responsibility for assessing business compliance with the majority of food legislation rests with local authorities. They will consider any areas of non-compliance with food law and take appropriate enforcement action in line with a hierarchy, risk-based approach to ensure the business takes the necessary steps to achieve compliance. Each situation will be judged on its own merits by the relevant local authority to determine the proportionate course of action.

Honey is a natural but complex product. All honey on sale, regardless of where it has come from, needs to comply with the Honey (England) Regulations 2015. There is no information to suggest that honey on UK shelves is unsafe or widely adulterated.     

For example, an EU-coordinated control plan on honey undertaken in 2015 found non-compliances regarding suspected sugar adulteration between 6% and 14%, depending on the testing method used. Indeed in comparison, levels of non-compliance on this theme for samples taken in the UK were very low at around 1%, from 147 samples. Under Europol’s Operation OPSON in 2020/21, 495 checks were undertaken around honey authenticity in 15 EU member states, Scotland and the United States, across a variety of issues but particularly around sugar adulteration. 7% of products sampled were non-compliant but all of the small number of samples analysed in Scotland were found to be compliant. 

While there is no evidence that any honey on sale in the UK is unsafe, it is a product that can be at risk of fraud. Products which declare a premium status, have a high price by weight, have complex supply chains or are subject to a spike in demand, can be particularly vulnerable to fraudsters. However, analysis can be challenging and no single test can definitively determine a honey’s authenticity.

A range of different analytical methods are available, from the well-established traditional methods to more recently developed advanced ‘fingerprinting’ tools such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). Wherever possible any method used to determine honey authenticity should be internationally recognised and validated. We are working with the honey industry to ensure that honey is safe, authentic and what it says it is. We are also collaborating with partners across government to improve understanding and disseminate knowledge of honey testing methods and the honey supply chain. For instance, Defra and the FSA have been working with the UK Government Chemist, on standardising approaches for honey authenticity testing, exploring ways to provide additional assurance for testing methods such as NMR which rely on underpinning databases and working on guidance for applying a weight of evidence approach. 

As always, consumers are at the heart of everything we do and we aim to maintain consumer confidence, reassure businesses involved in honey supply chains and reduce any risk of food fraud. 

Question 2 - Household Food Insecurity 

Dear Members of the Food Standards Agency Board, 

I am writing to you ahead of tomorrow’s board meeting in relation to your agenda item on Household Food Insecurity at 11.45am. 

I am a Nutritionist for an NGO called First Steps Nutrition Trust. We have been around for 10 years and are a UK-focused, independent public health nutrition charity working in the early years. We work to influence policy and practice to better protect and promote good nutrition from pre-conception to five years. We do this by filling practical and policy-relevant information gaps and providing resources for health workers supporting eating well in the early years. 

Having read the recent research by the Food Standards Agency, we believe there is a role for the Food Standards Agency in supporting community food providers to meet the specific needs of infants and young children. Attached is a short briefing document that outlines why community food provision for infants and young children should be addressed and some recommendations as to how this may be achieved. 

We look forward to hearing from you and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Kind regards, 
Rachel Childs
Nutritionist
First Steps Nutrition Trust

Our response

Good morning,

Thank you for your question about supporting community food providers to meet the needs of infants and young children on 14 June. This is a very important issue impacting an increasing number of consumers, which is why the FSA is considering our role in how we can ensure that everyone continues to have access to safe food.

The FSA wants to ensure that all consumers can access food that is safe, whether their food comes from a shop, an online platform or a food bank. Whilst the FSA does not believe that food charities and banks are the answer to the growing issue of people struggling to afford food, the unfortunate reality is that increasing numbers of consumers are relying on them to put food on their tables. This issue cuts across the FSA's work, as rising food prices have consequences for consumers’ behaviour, which could increase the risk of unsafe practices and unsafe or inauthentic food.  

We are therefore working with industry and other major donors, and foodbank charities, to look at what more we can do together to ensure that those who need to use foodbanks don’t have to also worry about whether their food is safe. For example, we will work with charities, to tailor resources for community food providers, to make them as easy to use as possible. We also want to work with industry, government and charitable bodies to examine and improve the regulatory landscape for foodbanks and donors. As part of our collaborative efforts across government, we are engaging with Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, who focus on addressing health disparities, especially on those groups and areas where health inequalities have the greatest effect.  We are grateful to you for sharing your briefing document, which we will bear in mind as part of this work.  

Thank you once again for submitting your question.