In its last 5-year plan, the FSA employed a more detailed approach, giving specific targets on health and safety, but this time it restricted itself to directional goals.
Communications director Terrance Collis said there was a danger of “plucking targets out of the air”, so to avoid laying out figures that get swept away by events, the FSA has boiled down its aims to the following five goals:
- food produced or sold in the UK is safe to eat
- imported food is safe to eat
- consumers understand about safe food and healthy eating, and have the information they need to make informed choices
- food products and catering meals are healthier
- regulation is effective, risk-based and proportionate, is clear about the responsibilities of food business operators, and protects consumers and their interests from fraud and other risks
Collis said the keys priorities in the new strategic plan are similar to those of the previous plan for 2005 – 2010, but that the emphasis has shifted in some areas.
On the subject of food safety much has been done to tackle the salmonella problem so that now the priority will be to combat campylobacter in chickens.
Regarding healthy eating, Collis said the FSA has been successful with drive to get nutritional labelling onto the front of food packaging. Agreeing on a common scheme will be a next step but the emphasis in the latest is on the promotion of healthy eating options.
Collis said the more explicit emphasis on promotion in the new strategic document reflects the importance of consumer driven change. He said the best way to make food products healthier is to ensure that consumers want to eat them.
In addition to promoting the benefits of eating well, the FSA will continue to work to improve the availability of healthy options. This is the focus of the ongoing consultation on portion sizes.
Overall Collis said the new strategic plan for 2010-2015 puts into focus the FSA goals of making food in the UK healthier and safer.