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Call for Closer Cooperation in Crisis Handling

06 June 2013

UK - The UK’s review of the circumstances surrounding the horse meat scandal has shown a need for improved intelligence sharing and analysis across the sector the need for the Food Standards Agency to strengthen its Major Incident Plan.

It also calls for an improved clarity of the role of Government departments in large complex incidents and a review of the FSA’s powers and the use of framework agreements and codes of conduct.

The findings of the review of the Agency’s handling of the adulteration of processed beef products with horse and pig meat and DNA were presented by Prof Pat Troop to the board of the FSA this week.

The final report will be published at the end of this month on the FSA website.

Overall, Professor Troop commended the Agency’s handling and recognised that this incident was very unusual in both its scale and profile.

FSA Chairman Jeff Rooker said: “The FSA welcomes this report and we will review Professor Troop’s findings in detail.

“This is the biggest food incident ever handled by the Food Standards Agency and it is important that we learn lessons from our handling – both what worked well and areas that need to be improved.”

FSA Chief Executive Catherine Brown said: “It is striking that there was a large degree of agreement among other Government departments, and among senior staff here, that the role of the FSA was to lead the investigation of this national food incident, regardless of the extent to which there was any food safety risk.

“We do need to formalise that understanding, and embed it in both our own organisation and across Government, so that we are all ready to respond should there be a similar incident in the future.

“The points that Professor Troop has identified about powers are similar in some respects to those identified by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee in its first report on the incident.

“I am particularly struck by Professor Troop’s thoughts on how better collaboration and co-ordination of the response to future major incidents may be achieved through the collaborative approaches of industry codes of conduct and framework agreements with local authorities, in line with our commitment to treat legislation as a last resort.”

TheMeatSite News Desk

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