In the final quarter of 2016, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for the United Kingdom issued 34 food notices, including 17 for allergy alerts. Milk, nuts and gluten were the top three undeclared allergens named.

In its wrap-up for the October to December quarter, FSA reported food notices include information on investigations the agency supported that were related to potential widespread risks from food poisoning and harmful contamination.

The FSA also led investigations of, and in some cases supported, nine incidents linked to possible risks of food poisoning, seven relating to physical or chemical contamination, and three to do with foodborne outbreaks. The agency also issued one food alert relating to pet food, as the FSA is responsible for animal feed regulations and the enforcement of pet food labelling through local authorities in England and Wales.

The quarterly information published describes the overall details of the incident, the level of risk to consumers and what action FSA, industry and local authorities took.

The FSA collated data found here was released to make it easier for consumers to access incident information.

FSA logo_406x250Recall system review recall system

During this third quarter the FSA, together with Food Standards Scotland (FSS), began work on a project to understand more about food recall arrangements within the food retail sector.

“The system for recalls and withdrawals has never been reviewed before, and the FSA and FSS believe the time is right to take a look at how things are working to make sure we have the most effective system in place for everyone — food business operators, consumers and regulators alike,” reported Richard Hoskin, FSA’s head of Incidents and Resilience. “The project aims to identify what currently works well and where improvements could be made to better protect and inform the consumer.

“We have set up an External Stakeholder Reference Group (ESRG) made up of bodies representing industry, consumers and regulators to help us interpret research findings and identify recommendations to improve the current system. We are expecting to begin carrying forward the recommended changes in late spring 2017.”

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