The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published new guidelines on how it will communicate with both the food industry and the general public during ‘food incidents’. According to the FSA, a ‘food incident’ is essentially the contamination of food in the production chain or through environmental pollution.

The stated aim of the guidance is to set out the roles and responsibilities of all key players in preventing and responding to food and feed incidents. It outlines the main elements of incident prevention and also a process for incident response from notification, through risk assessment, risk communication and risk management, to post-incident actions.

Much of this communication protocol is not new – the FSA already works closely with companies to help manage risk (both to the public and to firms’ reputations). Therefore, it is unclear how much of an additional burden this is likely to be on companies involved in food incidents.