The development of a “clear, rational and justifiable” approach to food safety, based on the findings of a new sector report, has been welcomed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The report looks at how to promote “transparency and rigour” in decision making on food safety in Europe, so that the basis for risk management decisions, and the information and analysis used, is clear, rational and justifiable. It also makes recommendations on the need for agencies across all member states to be consistent in their approaches and to meet common, essential criteria.
FSA chief scientific adviser, Professor Guy Poppy, said it was a “really valuable” document which “advances the debate on how to ensure that decision makers are clear about the evidence, assumptions and other considerations that shape decisions affecting the food we eat”.
“These issues are at the heart of FSA’s strategy and our commitment to develop, apply and communicate openly a robust evidence base in our work to protect consumers’ interests,” said Prof. Poppy.
“Science and the assessment of risks to health are central in this. Our decisions, however, whether on regulations on chemicals in food, in responding to food incidents, or deciding the best approaches to risky foods, consumer choice or effective controls on food businesses, quite rightly take account of other factors too.
“These include wider costs and benefits, consumers’ and business’ views and values, and what we know about how the different options will work in practice. We need to be clear how we have assessed and weighed all of these issues in coming to a decision.”
Building on the report findings, FSA said that it was committed to developing and piloting approaches to see what works best in practice, while also working with other countries, scientists and stakeholders.