July 23, 2014

UK’s Food Standards Agency Steps Up for the Olympics

The Summer Olympics Games begin in London on Friday, July 27, 2012. Athletes, the press, and observers from around the world will congregate in this city, and the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) is stepping up their own game.

The FSA’s Incidents Unit is extending their office hours during the Olympics to address food safety issues, including any food poisoning incidence, food contamination issues, and food fraud. The Unit will be staffed from 7:00 am to 8:30 pm Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekends. The phone number to contact the Unit is 020 7276 8448. Their email address is foodincidents@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk.

After office hours, the phone number will be answered by the Defra duty room. Issues and problems will be passed to the Food Standards Agency on-call officer. That agency, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, is responsible for food and environment policy development and regulations.

The government is also concerned about temporary food and beverage stands that may appear to grab some of the tourist dollars during the Games. In the UK, any food business that is located on a public road or path must have a street trading license from local government. The FSA will be looking out for any unlicensed vendors and will levy tough enforcements on violators. Only traders that have a license from the local authorities and the Olympic Delivery Authority will be able to sell food in the zones outside a venue or stadium. Local authorities will advise vendors about any training necessary to procure a license.

The FSA is responsible for food safety at the Games, and is working to manage any foodborne illness outbreaks, as well as improve hygiene standards of food facilities that operate near Olympic venues. They are also available to give advice to food importers and will coordinate food sampling inside and outside Olympic sites.

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