Category Archives UK Food Standards Authority

The U.K. Food Standards Agency has opened a public consultation on labeling allergens on prepared food products. The consultation applies to foods “prepacked on the premises in anticipation of an order, before being offered for sale,” such as “fresh (uncooked) pizzas from the deli counter,” “boxed salads,” “hot foods such as rotisserie chicken or wedges,” and “foods that are pre-weighed and packed such as cheese or meats from a delicatessen counter or baked goods from an in-store bakery.” The consultation closes March 29, 2019. The New York Times also addressed food allergen labeling, asserting that regulations in the United States are incomplete. The author notes that label statements indicating the possibility of traces of allergens are unregulated, leading to inconsistent messages, and some common allergens are not noted at all, such as sesame.

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint that a “100% Natural Ingredients” claim was misleading because the processing of the snack bar's ingredients did not comply with the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA's) criteria for use of the term “natural.” United Biscuits submitted a list of ingredients for its “Go Ahead Goodness” snack bars and asserted that all ingredients were made in a traditional manner. After ASA referred to FSA guidance, it determined that the refining of sunflower oil involves the use of chemical solvents and the process of creating reduced-fat cocoa powder involves the addition of potassium carbonate. Because the FSA guidance says neither the solvent extraction process nor the use of acid or alkali solutions is “in line with consumer expectations of ‘natural,’” ASA ruled that consumers would not consider the ingredients natural and that the advertisement was misleading.

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched public consultations on two sets of proposed legislation, “The Contaminants in Food (England) Regulations 2013” and “The Food Additives, Flavourings, Enzymes, and Extraction Solvents (England) Regulations 2013.” The first set of regulations related to food contaminants will revoke the 2010 version and take into account new European Commission regulations regarding (i) “maximum levels for nitrate in foodstuffs”; (ii) “maximum levels for the presence of coccidiostats and histomonostats in food resulting from the unavoidable carry-over of these substances in non-targeted feed”; and (iii) under-enforcement of EU provisions providing for “the labeling of groundnuts, other oilseeds, derived products thereof and cereals.” The Contaminants in Food Regulations will also revoke “national legislation on mineral hydrocarbons in food and revoke and remake[] the provisions of the Erucic Acid in Food Regulations 1977.” The second set of regulations will consolidate “all legislation within [FSA’s] remit covering food…

In the wake of a recent investigation conducted by the Food Standards Authority of Ireland that identified horse and pig DNA in beef products, the U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have published their own protocol for testing “food authenticity in processed meat products.” According to a February 6, 2013, FSA press release, the protocol calls for “specialized analytical techniques to provide information about the possible presence of horse or pig DNA in a range of beef products available to U.K. consumers.” As part of the extended survey, 28 local authorities (LAs) will analyze 224 samples from meat products selected as representative of those on the market. The protocol requires LAs to report screening samples by March 11, 2013, with any confirmatory tests reported by April 8. FSA also intends to identify brand names and describe any formal actions taken when it releases…

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published its “Forward Evidence Plan for 2013,” outlining its “priority science and evidence activities for the coming year.” Although subject to budgetary confirmation, the plan seeks to alert stakeholders to new and ongoing activities as well as identify additional research areas and sources of funding in support of FSA’s Strategic Plan 2010- 2015, which the agency last updated in January 2013. In particular, FSA has prioritized activities related to (i) “microbiological food safety, including campylobacter, E. coli, listeria and norovirus”; (ii)”food and feed hygiene policy”; (iii) “chemical safety of food, including metals and organic contaminants”; (iv) “the next round of the FSA strategic challenge cal”; and (v) “diet and health related work funded by the FSA in Scotland and Northern Ireland.” The agency has requested feedback on the plan by February 15, 2013. See FSA Press Release, January 31, 2013.

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) will reportedly prosecute a department store for installing raw-milk vending machines at its flagship London location. According to a January 23, 2013, FSA press release, the agency has sought charges against Selfridges Retail Limited as “a person other than the occupier of a production holding or distributor” under Regulation 32 and Schedule 6 Paragraph (2)(1) of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations. FSA has also included the farmer who supplied the milk as “an occupier of a production holding” under Regulation 32 and Schedule 6(2)(2). Westminster Magistrates Court has set the hearing date for February 6, 2013. The vending machines reportedly came to FSA’s attention in 2011, when the agency initiated an investigation of the retailer and demanded that the unpasteurized milk products carry a warning label. Under current regulations, farmers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can sell raw cow’s milk directly to consumers…

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced a moratorium on the production of “desinewed meat” (DSM) from cattle, sheep and goats after the European Commission decided “that DSM does not comply with European Union [EU] single market legislation.” Produced using “a low pressure technique” to remove meat from bone but retain the structural integrity of the muscle fibers, DSM reportedly resembles “minced meat” and “is regarded as meat” by FSA. Although the Commission evidently does not view DSM as a health concern, it reportedly threatened to ban U.K. meat exports unless FSA issued a moratorium and reworked legislation to comply with the EU definition of “mechanically separated meat” (MSM), that is, “the product obtained by removing meat from flesh bearing bones after boning or from poultry carcasses, using mechanical means resulting in the loss or modification of the muscle fibre structure.” Meanwhile, the British Meat Processors’ Association (BMPA) has…

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued an August 16, 2011, notice soliciting information about “the sale and consumption of whole insects and other animals, such as worms,” which may eventually require novel food assessment under the European Union’s (EU’s) food safety laws. Directed at insect suppliers, the Natural History Museum, and various consumer, manufacturer and retailer associations, the request seeks feedback about U.K. insect consumption, including the extent and duration of sales, with the aim of generating “as comprehensive a list as possible of insects and other animals” likely to come under the auspices of EU Novel Food Regulation (EC) 258/97 when it is revisited in 2012. The current food safety regulation apparently omits insects and other whole animals, “largely due to an apparent oversight in the wording of the existing text.” According to FSA, the responses will contribute to “a broader EU-wide investigation into the marketing of edible…

The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reportedly launched an investigation to determine if a brand of ice cream made with donated breast milk has violated food safety regulations. Launched recently by a London-area restaurant, Baby Gaga ice cream was evidently pulled by the Westminster City Council after several complaints were lodged about whether the product was safe for human consumption. According to a news source, FSA joined with the council to decide if the ice cream breaches regulations mandating that “food shall not be placed on the market if it is unsafe” and that “food shall be deemed to be unsafe it if it is considered to be (i) injurious to health, and (ii) unfit for human consumption.” An industry source was quoted as saying that human breast milk donated to breast milk banks is required to pass rigorous screening to comply with guidelines established by the National…

The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced that it is commissioning research aimed at modernizing official controls on meat. Noting that “the driving force” behind the Future Meat Controls Research Programme is to “improve public health by adopting a more risk- and evidence-based approach to meat production,” FSA said four areas of research will be part of the evidence to support regulatory change. Areas of research needed are (i) “an evaluation of food chain information, and collection and communication of inspection results for all species”; (ii) “trialling the visual inspection for fatting pigs from non-controlled housing conditions”; (iii) “a qualitative risk assessment of visual inspection of red meat and farmed/wild large game (all ages and species other than swine)”; and (iv) “trialling the use of a plant inspection assistant in approved game handling establishments (small and large wild game).” FSA requests proposals by April 6, 2011.

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