A review of developments in food and feed law and related scientific and regulatory issues that affect the UK
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This is the ninth in a series of quarterly reports that will provide regular updates on developments in food and feed law and related scientific and regulatory issues. This report covers the period from October to December 2016.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) continued to attract attention, with a Food Standards Agency (FSA) systematic review ahead of a Codex Alimentarius working group on AMR in London in the quarter chaired by the UK, USA and Australia. This is the first step that will set terms of reference for the intergovernmental task force that will follow.
Food crime and food regulation featured strongly in the quarter. The FSA’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) launched ‘Food Crime Confidential’ a reporting facility particularly aimed at the UK food industry, and an industry guide to assist building a meaningful two way dialogue between the NFCU and the food, drink and feed industry. A review of the NFCU published in November 2016 recommended it should be given additional powers and resources.
The FSA continued to update stakeholders on the future of food regulation. FSA believes businesses must take proper responsibility for food safety and local authority resources must be properly used. Hence FSA is proposing a model that continues to use inspections and visits alongside the information gained from businesses’ data and accredited third party audits.
The fifth FSA Chief Scientific Adviser’s report by Professor Guy Poppy focused on food allergy and food intolerance, explaining in a readable way the complex and evolving science behind these conditions. The report was launched in November and highlighted the Government Chemist work in resolving the almond/mahaleb issues.
There were no changes in contaminants legislation in the quarter but aflatoxins along with veterinary and pesticides residues were again highlighted in amendments to regulations that impose enhanced surveillance of imported food and feed. Among food additives changes there was a new specification for steviol glycosides, E960, to include rebaudioside M.
Domestic implementation of amended compositional and labelling law on caseins and caseinates occurred in the quarter and standards for olive oil and its analysis continued to be updated. New European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) guidance documents on novel foods were finalised and adopted in November 2016.
Finally, the content of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, its precursors and other cannabinoids in food of animal origin – where animals are fed with feed containing hemp or hemp derived feed materials – received attention in the quarter.