APA News

  • FSA Board Meeting now at 9:00 on Monday 26th September

    The meeting will consider a paper  proposing a three-phase plan to provide a lab system built on five pillars of resilience.
    • Capability and Capacity – all required analysis available within the UK with capacity to cope with surges in demand caused by an incident.
    • Future Proofing Future proofing – labs have modern instrumentation and can gain accreditation for new methods is defined as the ability of labs to maintain a modern capability.
    • NRL Support – NRLs can provide additional support and develop relevant methods that can be used in labs.
    • Upskilling – labs able to implement new methods, train analysts and bring new instruments on-stream.
    • Coordination – labs (including NRLs) work together delivering benefits across government.
    The report notes that enforcement sampling by local authorities for non-microbiological samples has dropped across England, Wales, and NI by almost 80 % since 2016 and that many local authorities are now taking few or no enforcement samples. Analysis is often limited to looking for undeclared allergens or meat substitution with whole areas such as food contact materials, GM ingredients, food supplements being completely neglected.

    A resilient sustainable laboratory services using standardised tested approaches was one of the eight pillars of food integrity proposed by the Elliott Review in 2014 . All of Professor Elliott’s recommendations were accepted by the government of the day with Defra’s response expressing a commitment to “Taking a strategic approach to ensuring that the country has a resilient network of food analytical laboratories capable of testing consistently for food authenticity in the future.”

    The announcement that all of the recommendations were accepted was made by Liz Truss who had become the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs only a few months earlier. At the time of the announcement there were six local authority PA labs in England. Now there are three.