FSA publishes incidents report

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published its second Annual Report of Incidents, showing how many food incidents it handled in 2007 and what action was taken to protect consumers.

The report states that the Agency handled a total of 1,312 investigations into food incidents in 2007, including the foot and mouth outbreak in Surrey and the high profile bird flu outbreaks in East Anglia.

Andrew Wadge, FSA chief scientist and director of Food Safety, said: 'Consumer protection is at the heart of the work of the Food Standards Agency. While the food on sale in the UK is safer than it has ever been, we remain vigilant and respond quickly and firmly to protect consumers when incidents do occur.

"This report gives an overview of the work done by the Agency during 2007 and shows how we work with the food industry and our enforcement partners in local authorities to ensure that potentially harmful food is removed from sale and that consumers are advised as necessary."

Today's report gives a breakdown of all the major categories of incidents in 2007. These categories include: environmental contamination (fires spills and leaks); natural chemical contamination (mycotoxins, algal toxins and others); microbiological incidents; and on-farm incidents.

As a part of the Agency's work to make it easier to report incidents, an enhanced online incident report form was launched last year. The new form makes it easier for food and feed businesses to notify the Agency of product recalls or withdrawals. The Agency is also developing workshops for local authorities and industry to encourage them to use the Agency and its systems to help deal with any problems.