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Innovative regulator

How can the FSA continue to be an innovative and effective regulator when developing and implementing food regulations?

The FSA aims to be a modern and accountable regulator. We must be innovative and be able to develop and take advantage of new approaches to support the work we do. This includes adopting technological advances, digital tools and data analytics. It is also about using social research to gain a greater insight into the behaviour of consumers and the food businesses that supply them, to help ensure effective implementation.

The FSA has two key regulatory change programmes underway: Achieving Business Compliance (ABC) and Operations Transformation Programme (OTP). ABC focuses more on retailers and others selling directly to the public, whereas OTP focuses earlier in the food chain, on slaughterhouses, manufacturers and producers. 

  • the Achieving Business Compliance programme seeks to deliver a vision for a future regulatory system with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, that is fit for purpose and capable of managing future risks
  • the Operations Transformation Programme is modernising the way we deliver Official Controls in the meat, dairy and wine sectors. We want to make it easier for businesses to do the right thing.

This Area of Research Interest (ARI) aims to look at how the FSA can remain at the cutting-edge when developing and implementing food regulations by providing the evidence to underpin these two key programmes. 

Related to our desire to be a cutting-edge regulator, this ARI covers the exploration of technological innovations that will help achieve this. We support the evaluation and testing of new and emerging technologies – including novel detection and diagnostic methods, data analytics and digital innovations - where we see they have the potential to revolutionise how traditional surveillance and regulation is undertaken.  


Research projects related to the programme

Evaluation of the Food Standards pilot

This report presents the findings from the evaluation of the pilot programme that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has completed to test a proposed food standards delivery model as part of the Achieving Business Compliance (ABC) programme.

21st Century Meat Inspector project report

This project investigated how existing and new inspection technologies can be combined with advanced data analytics and incorporated into current meat inspection practices to deliver the 21st Century Meat Inspector. 

Food Data Trust: A framework for information sharing

This work examines the role of information sharing in ensuring safe food production supply networks. It proposes a data trust framework that will more efficiently enable secure information sharing for the benefit of all stakeholders in the food system.

The future of food recalls

Independent research assessing the effectiveness of food withdrawal and recall processes in the UK food retail sector.

Business information needs (February - March 2015)

This research aimed to understand business’ awareness of available information, perceived relevance and appeal of information, impact of materials currently used, format and channel preferences for guidance and identify any gaps in existing support and priorities for alteration.

Modernisation of the risk rating system for food establishments in the UK

The research aimed to develop the evidence base to inform the modernisation of the intervention rating schemes set out in the Food Law Code of Practice to reflect the complex changing nature of the food industry and the changes in the socio-economic circumstances facing local authorities and help deliver the FSA strategic objectives.

Trialling a modernised poultry inspection system in UK slaughterhouses

The poultry inspection system trial aimed to explore a modernised official control system which introduced a focused approach to official control verification activity and root cause analysis of poultry processing to address food borne pathogens. Research was commissioned to assess if enhanced verification contributes to a reduction in levels of contamination and unseen microbiological hazards.

Consistency in regulatory work

This programme of work was part of our efforts to achieve consistency in the delivery of official controls. Three studies investigated consistency from different angles, using different methods and kinds of data. They provide multiple insights and also demonstrate how this complex topic can be analysed from different, combined perspectives.