FSA welcomes 'constructive' dialogue with Commission

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fsa, Consumer, Management

A meeting between the EC's directorate general for health and
consumer protection and the UK's food safety watchdog was 'positive
and constructive', according to FSA chair Deirdre Hutton.

Discussions centred on the way that nutrition, dietary health and food issues are being handled. Hutton reported to an FSA board meeting last week that the Commission expressed general satisfaction with the agency's approach to risk-based enforcement.

The meeting explored the question of proportionality and all the difficult 'judgement issues'. The commission was also interested by the agency's approach to front-of-pack labelling with regard to measures it is going to have to take across Europe.

"Hopefully this will lead to improved relationships in the future,"​ said Hutton.

The UK's food regulator is also planning to slice millions of euros off the administration costs faced by businesses in complying with safety regulations. A proposal published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) sets a target of reducing administrative costs for businesses by about £12m (€17.8m) over the next four years.

An FSA study estimates UK businesses collectively spend about £128m annually complying with food regulations.

This was another topic of discussion at last week's board meeting. The FSA stated that one of its studies has indicated that the "existing framework of food law did not place a particularly onerous burden"​ on businesses.

The measurement exercise found that of the 53 FSA regulations, seven regulations account for about 91 per cent of the costs faced by businesses. The food safety regulations include those dealing with dairy products, meat, feeds, and labelling.

Hutton also reported that the FSA is sponsoring the City Food Lecture for the first time in January 2007. She said that the headline title of the lecture was 'organics'.

"In a rapidly changing consumer world, there was a need to ask what values consumers are bringing to the purchasing and consumption of food,"​ she said.

Hutton also welcomed new board member Michael Parker to his first open meeting last week. She also confirmed to the board Dr Andrew Wadge's appointment as the agency's chief scientific advisor. Wadge is also the FSA's director of food safety policy.

Related topics: Food safety and labeling

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