Sunday, August 22, 2010


In those countries where accountability is taken seriously, lackadaisical approach to food safety by the agencies vested with the task of monitoring food products under the regulatory regime,, can cause considerable turmoil amongst the citizens. Food Standards Agency ( FSA) in the UK was set up specifically to be a guardian of the consumers when it comes to unsafe foods and uncaring industry. It looks like the agency has not been able to live up to the expectation of its constituencies as reflected by the furore against its working, as highlighted by the media. The latest incidence that has rattled the agency is the appearance of meat products made from cloned cows in the UK market which was not detected, in spite of the universal disapproval of consuming such meats on many considerations. Abolition of FSA is being sought by the public and one should not be surprised if the new Coalition government the UK wields the Axe.

"Such a slapdash approach should come as no surprise. The FSA, set up by the last government in response to the BSE scandal, has a record of complacency, notably over the avian flu outbreak of 2007 caused by the import of infected Hungarian meat. Its performance then left much to be desired. Such sloppiness should have made the FSA a prime candidate for the quango cull initiated by the Coalition in June. Amazingly, it has escaped. In a little-noticed announcement two weeks ago, the Department of Health said that the FSA would not, contrary to the expectations of many in the food industry, be axed. Instead, it is to lose responsibility for nutrition policy, which the DoH will take in-house, while the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will take over food labelling".

Though there is no ban in using milk and its products as well as beef obtained from cloned animals, there is no unanimity regarding its safety, especially on the long term in Europe. In the US also there is no ban but FDA allows marketing these products without insisting on compulsory labeling, though the industry has been "cautioned" to go slow in their marketing effort, what ever that means!


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