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THE Food Standards Agency (FSA) needs to review and revise its plans for dealing with major incidents; it also needs to develop and increase its resilience.
These are among the recommendations made following an independent review of the FSA's handling of the horsemeat contamination incident earlier this year. The review was undertaken by Pat Troop, a former chief executive of the Health Protection Agency. She was asked to conduct a short, focused review of how the agency responded to the incident and to make recommendations to the FSA Board on the capacity and capabilities of the FSA and actions that should be taken to maintain or build them.
In her report, which was published on July 5, Professor Troop says that there were many positive aspects to how the FSA responded to the incident: ‘I found much that was good,’ she says, ‘but inevitably in any review, the emphasis is on what could be better, but this should not detract from the hard work and commitment clearly demonstrated in this incident.’
She notes that, during her review, comments were made about a lack of clarity about the role of the FSA in food authenticity matters. The horsemeat contamination incident was not considered to be a food safety incident, with implications for human health; however, she says, while at a senior level within …
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