Hazards and Crisis Management: Introduction


Investigating and managing incidents to ensure food safety is a key part of the work of the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The Incidents and Resilience Unit of the FSA maintains the Incident Management Plan for Non-Routine Incidents.[1]

This plan provides the necessary structures and governance arrangements to enable the FSA to scale up its incident response to manage all types of incident. It also sets out how we now communicate food or feed safety issues with Europe and internationally since the UK exited the EU.[2]

The FSA defines a food incident as:

Any event where, based on the information available, there are concerns about actual or suspected threats to the safety, quality or integrity of food and/or feed that could require intervention to protect consumers’ interests. Quality should be considered to include food standards, authenticity and composition.[3]

The definition is the same as that provided in the Food Law Code of Practice (England).[4]

The framework for the investigation, management and response to food and feed incidents comprises several key components:

In 2020-21 the FSA investigated 1,978 food, feed, food contact material and environmental contamination incidents in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

[1] Version 8, April 2021

[2] Ibid., p5, Emily Miles, Chief Executive, Food Standards Agency

[3] Ibid., p8, para 2

[4] March 2021, p47, para 5.2.1

[5] March 2019

[6] March 2021

[7] Which operates under the auspices of the World Health Organization.