12 January - 20 June 2016

FSA incident report

3 July 13

The Food Standards Agency has published its latest Annual Report of Food Incidents.  The report highlights the wide range of incidents managed by the Food Standards Agency during 2012.  In 2012, the FSA were notified of and investigated 1604 food and environmental contamination incidents in the UK.  This was 110 fewer than the number of incidents notified the previous year, but still higher than in any year prior to 2011.  Where appropriate, action was taken to ensure consumers’ interests in relation to food safety and standards were protected.  The three largest contributors to these incidents were microbiological contamination (20%), environmental contamination (15%) and natural chemical contamination (13%).  One of the valuable roles played by the report is providing insight into why certain types of incident have increased.  For example, FSA investigations show a recent rise in a certain type of salmonella was mostly the result of paan leaves imported from Bangladesh.  Similarly, the number of allergen-related incidents appears to have risen by more than half since 2010.  The report also shows a rise in the number of whistleblowers who contacted the FSA during the year.  A total of 81 cases originated from whistleblowers during 2012 – up from 54 the previous year.  Catherine Brown, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency, said that she hoped that this annual report would encourage food businesses and consumers to notify the FSA promptly of incidents and of any other potentially useful intelligence they have, which would enable the FSA to act swiftly to protect the public and the food industry, and in doing so, increase public confidence in food safety.

RSSL carries out allergen testing using immunological, DNA and distillation techniques, depending on the allergen to be detected. Detection limits are in the range 1- 100 mg allergen/kg of sample for almond, Brazil nut, macadamia nut, peanut, walnut, hazelnut, cashew nut, pistachio nut, pecan nut, pine nut and chestnut.  Celery, celeriac, black mustard, lupin  and kiwi allergens can be detected by DNA methods, as can crustacean, fish and mollusc allergens.  The laboratory also uses a range of UKAS accredited immunological procedures for the detection of allergens including gluten, peanut, hazelnut, almonds, soya, egg, milk, sesame and histamine.  Distillation and titration methods are used for the determination of sulphur dioxide and sulphites.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com.

Remember to book your place at Allergens in a Nutshell, FREE RSSL Roadshow, 8 October 2013, Reading

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