Food safety body says Ireland must be ready to deal with any food crisis

Ireland needs to build capacity and capability to allow the country to react and deal effectively with any national or international food incident or crisis, according to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

In its new plan, published last week, the FSAI aims to set standards that are practical and recognised globally, while creating an environment where Ireland is a trusted and recognised leader in food safety.

The two year plan sets out the FSAI’s vision for protecting customers, continuously raising food standards and the creation of a culture of excellence in Ireland.

The FSAI aims to ensure, through regulation and collaboration, that food produced in Ireland is of the highest possible standards for both domestic and export markets.

The new strategic approach will continue to review the regulatory landscape, industry innovations, advances in technology, new and emerging risks and the lengthening of the food supply chain.

Chairman of the FSAI, Professor Michael Gibney, said for the strategy to be successful it will require significant collaboration between the FSAI and its stakeholders.

“Our new strategy sets out a clearly defined vision, mission, values and strategic goals that will guide the organisation into 2018 and sets a new strategic platform for the future.

“Delivering this strategy will require working in collaboration with our stakeholders, as well as the Irish and global food safety community to ensure access to timely and accurate information that underpins our risk assessment and risk management systems to ensure safe and trustworthy food for everyone,” Gibney said.

The five key goals from the strategy are:

  1. Lead a regulatory culture where everyone is passionate about achieving the highest standards of food.  Achieved by providing a framework for regulating food which allows for effective enforcement, whilst also ensuring a partnership approach that really engages all stakeholders.
  2. Use the best scientific knowledge, evidence and expertise to underpin policy and risk analysis in respect of food safety.  Strengthen and develop engagement with national, European and international food safety, integrity and nutrition experts as appropriate to deliver robust advice to underpin all FSAI decision-making.
  3. Create an environment where Ireland is a trusted and recognised leader in food safety and integrity. Set standards that are practical and recognised globally and working in partnership with consumer advocacy groups to address consumers’ needs.  Build capacity and capability to allow Ireland to react and deal effectively with any national or international food incident or crisis.
  4. Foster a culture of respect, integrity and humility, which is non-discriminatory and supports equality, while delivering a robust system of corporate governance to ensure accountability, transparency and public value.
  5. Adopt a digital-first approach to maximise accessibly, efficiency and effectiveness.  Enhance data collection and analysis to gain a deeper understanding of the environment in which the FSAI operates and inform decision making.

Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, welcomed the strategy saying it showed the volume of of work that is carried out by the FSAI.

“There is nothing more fundamental to our health and well-being than the food we eat each and every day.

“We all like to know that someone, somewhere, is safeguarding our interests to ensure that the food we serve and eat meets with the highest hygiene and food safety standards,” Minister Kennedy said.