Dan Crossley, Executive Director of the Food Ethics Council, has called for a stronger, better supported Food Standards Agency.
The FSA is taking on additional responsibility as functions performed by the European Food Safety Authority are shifted to the UK as a result of Brexit, with thousands of EU food regulations in the process of being adopted into the Retained EU Law bill. New legislation on genetic technology is also presenting additional challenges and an increased work load.
Writing in The Grocer, Mr Crossley says, that while the FSA’s responsibilities are increasing substantially, it “has not been given huge additional budgets nor significant new powers.”
He says, “Businesses want the benefits that good regulation brings – a level playing field, public trust in food products and brands, greater certainty and opportunity for trade with other markets. On top of that, good regulation can support companies to minimise negative environmental and animal welfare impacts.”
Mr Crossley says that 72% of UK businesses back current levels of environmental regulation. “At a recent Food Ethics Council Business Forum, we heard strong support for sensible protections and for backing the FSA.”
To raise the profile of good regulation, Mr Crossley proposed that, “Businesses and regulators should tell the story of how sensible regulation helps on a day-to-day basis. Conversely, [they should] paint a picture of what a food system with no regulation would look like.”
He said that regulation should become more relevant to the person on the street, and that the FSA “should have a wider remit and sharper teeth”, so that the majority of law-abiding businesses are protected from operators who cut corners.