The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recently released its annual report on food standards, “Our Food 2022“. Despite the industry facing numerous challenges, FSA reported no significant change in food safety or authenticity standards. However, the agency raised concerns about ongoing violations of food composition labelling requirements with respect to allergens.
FSA analysed data from border checks, national sampling programs, and food crime intelligence to assess the safety of imported food. The volume of food imports increased by 5.6% in 2022 compared to 2021, but compliance failure rates remained consistent.
The number of incidents relating to undeclared or incorrectly declared allergens returned to pre-pandemic levels following a decline in cases during 2020–2021 that was potentially due to a combination of factors. These include changes to consumer behaviours during the pandemic, the streamlining of food production lines, a reduction in the number of businesses operating at the time, and changes to food audits that were undertaken face-to-face on food premises.
It appears that as things have returned to normal after the pandemic, the number of allergen-related incidents has also reverted to pre-pandemic trends.
The FSA will continue to support food businesses to implement effective allergen controls, including accurate labelling, consumer information and good allergen management in food production and supply.
See the FSA website for the full report and additional commentary.