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Food in the platform economy

Research exploring if existing FSA resources can be joined into a tool to assess food safety and integrity risks in the context of the platform economy.
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Risk analysis underpins our ability to be recognised as an effective, accountable, and modern regulator. COVID-19 led to an explosion in online food sales, which stressed a need to consider these activities’ food safety and integrity risks. However, risk analysis in the context of the platform economy is challenging. The analysis must consider what can go wrong at vendor and platform levels – which will vary across platforms.

We have developed a risk analysis process and we have also completed other research on the platform economy. Therefore, this research explored these existing resources and asked if they could be joined into a tool to assess food safety and integrity risks in the context of the platform economy.

Findings

Existing FSA resources can be joined into two types of risk ranking tools, one for guidance, one for audits and/or enforcement:

  • A self-assessment tool to assist/guide online food vendors and intermediary platforms in gauging food safety and integrity risks – feasible in the short-term
  • An assessment tool for use in external audits or inspections by qualified and/or enforcement personnel – feasible in the long-term