Report Highlights Need for Science

A welcome fall in the number of incidents reported in the FSA's Annual Report of Incidents 2012 (published on June 28), still identifies many areas of ongoing concern for food manufacturing.

Allergen related incidents were up, as were cases of physical contaminants (foreign bodies), process contamination and labelling amongst others. Even categories of incidents that fell, such as natural chemical contamination, perhaps only did so because incidents in 2011 had been unusually high.

"It's a mixed picture," notes Karen Masters of RSSL. "At RSSL, we see incidents from both sides. We help customers deal with contamination crises through our Emergency Response and foreign body analysis services, but more importantly, we help many more customers avoid exposure to problems through routine analysis of ingredients and products, training in areas such as allergen management, and advising on general due diligence." RSSL also regularly helps customers in matters of supply chain integrity – an issue highlighted by the report's particular reference to food fraud.

"There are many vulnerabilities, and despite the number of incidents reported, the vast majority of food manufacturers can be applauded for the efforts they go to in ensuring that our food is safe, authentic, and as described on the label. Advances in laboratory equipment are helping us to do more in supporting manufacturers, though ironically, these same advances sometimes expose concerns that previously went unnoticed."

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