The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) is beginning to roll out a far-reaching programme of regulatory change called Regulating Our Future (ROF). This Briefing Paper argues that ROF risks:
- Making the UK’s food supply less safe by further weakening systems that are already too weak;
- Undermining the ability of UK food producers to export to the EU after Brexit;
- Creating irreconcilable conflicts of interests, because rather than having public officials inspect food businesses, the food businesses will be able to choose who ‘marks their homework’.
Professors Erik Millstone (University of Sussex) and Tim Lang (City, University of London) provide a detailed and powerful critique of the Food Standards Agency’s proposals. They conclude that ROF represents a fundamental and detrimental shift in the role, approach and public responsibilities of the FSA and the local authority officers who are the bedrock of food safety in the UK. They also show why these unwelcome proposals are especially unwise in the context of negotiations over Brexit, when the public needs a strong, vigilant and effective FSA.
The authors call for ROF to be halted pending further review by a special Parliamentary Joint Select Committee of the Health and Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committees.