Get together to crack food safety

THE ENTIRE food chain must work together to address future food safety concerns, delegates attending the British Crop Protection Council Conference in Glasgow (Nov 1) have been told.

“Consumers want to be sure their food production is in safe hands. It is in all our interests to ensure this confidence is well placed,” said the Food Standards Agency‘s Nick Tomlinson.

Although consumer confidence had increased since the FSA was established and food safety issues had not created the hysteria of past events, there still remain risks, he said.

“All levels of the food chain must work together to reduce these risks.”

The pesticides industry is one of the most highly regulated around, added Syngenta‘s Mike Skidmore.

The safety measures already in place mean on average it takes nine years and $184m to discover, develop and produce a new pesticide, he said.

“Safety assurance is reviewed at national, regional and local level, therefore it can be publicly scrutinised.

“Any risks [from pesticide residues] are very small and are definitely outweighed by the benefits of eating a balanced and varied diet.”

The industry needs to educate people about the measures already in place to minimise pesticide residues in food, he said.

With the global population predicted to increase 2bn to 8bn by 2030, worldwide food trade will remain important, therefore a level playing field for international food standards is required, said Mr Tomlinson.

“The FSA is working to develop this.”