View webcast. The Food Standards Agency held an open board meeting in London on Thursday 15 September 2005. It was attended by 75 stakeholders and members of the public, including VEGA. It was also viewed on live webcast by more than 300 people. You can now view the webcast on the FSA website. For VEGA's comments click Audio, Analogue or Broadband and scroll down to Q & A in right hand column.
The meeting dealt with the following issues:
Hygiene laws. An update on how the FSA will help food businesses to comply with the new hygiene laws due to apply from 1 January 2006.
Sudan I. This food dye can be produced as part of the manufacturing process of a food colouring permitted for use in the European Union (Sunset Yellow). Currently, EU legislation for Sunset Yellow allows up to 5% of subsidiary colouring matter to be present. The levels of Sudan dyes in foods should be as low as is practicably possible and it is illegal to add the dyes to food.
Kingsmill white sliced bread. Allied Bakeries had yesterday (14 September) issued a press release about a tampering incident at its factory in Orpington, Kent. The affected brand, Kingsmill white sliced bread, is distributed across the south east of England. The company is working with the police and security has been stepped up to eliminate the problem.
Avian (bird) flu outbreaks were discussed and it was stressed that all the evidence suggested that it is extremely unlikely that avian flu can be transmitted by food, and is therefore not a concern for human health.
Antibiotic-resistant E. coli. Recent media reports have discussed the possible presence of an antibiotic-resistant E. coli organism in imported foods, but there is no evidence of this so far.
European Food Supplements Directive in Europe. The Commission is expected to issue initial discussion documents later this year or early in 2006.
EU Regulation on official food and feed controls. The Board accepted recommendations made for the implementation of the Regulation (due 1 January 2006).
Consumer and Trading Standards Agency. The Board will respond to Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) consultation proposals regarding this.
BSE testing. Some developments since the FSA meeting in August 2005 on replacing the Over Thirty Months (OTM) Rule with BSE testing.
This information is taken from the FSA board update (September 2005), and is a summary of this information. We will soon post our own comments.