FSA looks to make feed regulation more ‘agile’ to spur innovation

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Richard Drury
© GettyImages/Richard Drury

Related tags Food standards agency Insect protein

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) published its strategy yesterday for improving food and feed, over the next five years.

The goals, it said, reflects the FSA’s greater responsibilities now that the UK is outside of the EU. The document​ also considered growing public concern about health and climate change.  

FSA chief executive, Emily Miles, said that leaving the EU has changed the FSA’s role, it has taken on new functions. “The FSA therefore plays a more critical role than ever in supporting governments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on matters relating to food [and feed].” 

Its report noted that the UK’s departure from the EU along with the need for the feed sector to contribute to sustainable food production has created the environment for a swiftly changing landscape in feed supply chains. “For example, there have been developments in the use of insect proteins and feed additive applications, which their developers hope will have positive environmental impacts. The FSA has a role to play to ensure that feed regulation is sufficiently agile to respond to the fast pace of innovation.”

The FSA is responsible for commissioning the delivery of feed official controls through local authority partners. 

Its strategy document makes it clear that the agency ​wants to make "the best use of the capability and capacity"​ of enforcement partners. It is hoping to develop tools and mechanisms to speed up the identification of feed imports, thereby “focusing resources on matters of most impact.” 

It will update its official control directions and guidance to provide "timely clarity"​ where "fast paced"​ developments require it.

UK feed industry response

"The AIC shares the FSA’s view that EU exit, coupled with the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, has resulted in both challenges and change for feed supply chains,"​ James McCulloch, head of feed sector, Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) told FeedNavigator.

He was commenting on the new FSA strategy.

At the same time, he said the AIC recognises the opportunities for the industry to secure safe and sustainable protein streams from existing and novel sources, which could help contribute to the net zero ambitions of the UK livestock sector.

Welcoming FSA's statement that would it look to make feed regulation more agile, McCulloch said: "We look forward to engaging with FSA in helping to develop new regulation in the area of feed materials as well as regulated products such as feed additives and GMOs."

The AIC, he continued, also recognises that those performing official controls should have sufficient resource to carry out their roles in a way that does not disrupt feed supply chains, particularly when dealing with imported feeds and feed materials. "This will become extremely important when full controls are applied later in 2022."

The FSA operates in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Most of food policy making is devolved, so it maintains strong working relationships with the UK and Welsh governments and the NI Executive.

But we act independently of ministers and are governed by an independent board. We work closely with Food Standards Scotland (FSS), an independent public body with responsibility for food policy and implementation in Scotland.”

Related topics Regulation

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