Date Published: 15 May 2007

FSA (UK) Publishes first annual report on food safety incidents

Health Food - illustrating an item from the UK Food Standards Agency.

The Food Standards Agency today publishes its first Annual Report of Incidents. The Agency handled 1,342 investigations into food incidents in 2006, including the high profile national outbreak of Salmonella in chocolate and the contamination of US long-grain rice with an unauthorised genetically modified organism.

With each incident, the FSA takes action guided by the best available scientific evidence to protect consumers and maintain food standards and safety.

Andrew Wadge, FSA Chief Scientist and Director of Food Safety, said:

" This report shows in an accessible way how the FSA responded to the incident reports received in 2006 and highlights how consumer interest was protected, based on that information. It stresses the need for all stakeholders to work in partnership to improve incident handling systems and encourages more comprehensive reporting. A better information base will help us take more appropriate and proportionate action and, over time, provide a valuable resource for everyone concerned with food safety. "

The major categories of incidents in 2006 were:

  • environmental contamination (fires and spills/leads) 28%,
  • natural chemical contamination (mycotoxins, algal toxins and others) 13%,
  • microbiological contamination (salmonella, Listeria, E.Coli etc) 11% and
  • physical contamination (pieces of plastic, glass, metal etc) 10%.

In addition, there were on average one to two food recalls and withdrawals a week due to incorrect or missing allergy labelling or other allergy risks.

Through subsequent annual reports of incidents, the FSA hopes to use historical and the latest data to identify trends and provide detailed analysis to give an accurate picture of food and environmental contamination in the UK.

 

Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA), UK.

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