23 November 2001

FSA assurance probe a threat

THE Food Standards Agency investigation into farm assurance schemes is a threat to the industry that must be urgently addressed, agricultural suppliers have warned.

Jim Reed, chief executive of the UK Agricultural Supply Trade Association, urged farmers to challenge the belief that assurance schemes should be reviewed because they might work against consumers interests.

"If we have learned one thing from the food scares of the past 15 years, it is surely that consumers do not wish to have to worry about food safety," he told the SAC Outlook conference in Edinburgh on Wed, Nov 14. "They take it for granted in the normal course of their lives; it is a "given" – until something goes wrong.

"And when that happens, consumers expect remedial action to be taken very quickly by everyone in the food chain, to put it right. There is nothing unreasonable about that, but it does of course require that systems and mechanisms exist through which remedial action can be taken swiftly and effectively." &#42