UK Food Standards

Whether eating out or at home, everyone should be able to enjoy good quality food that is safe, nutritious and correctly labelled.

The UK has been a global leader on food and animal welfare standards; with a strong focus on consumer safety. Even so, most of us are aware of what happens when the rules which underpin our food system fail; from the 2013 horsemeat scandal, to E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks, and the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria in British meat.

Our research and polling finds overwhelming public support for high food standards, and for the regulations which underpin them. However, UK food standards remain under threat from deregulatory pressures.

Future trade deals have the potential to undermine food standards by permitting the importation of food produced to lower hygiene and quality standards. UK food regulators are under huge pressure as a result of dwindling resources.

UK Food Standards

Whether eating out or at home, everyone should be able to enjoy good quality food that is safe, nutritious and correctly labelled.

The UK has been a global leader on food and animal welfare standards; with a strong focus on consumer safety. Even so, most of us are aware of what happens when the rules which underpin our food system fail; from the 2013 horsemeat scandal, to E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks, and the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria in British meat.

Our research and polling finds overwhelming public support for high food standards, and for the regulations which underpin them. However, UK food standards remain under threat from deregulatory pressures.

Future trade deals have the potential to undermine food standards by permitting the importation of food produced to lower hygiene and quality standards. UK food regulators are under huge pressure as a result of dwindling resources.

The UK’s food standards enforcement gap

Both the Food Standards Agency and Local Authorities, which work together to make sure our food is safe, are stretched to breaking point. After years of funding cuts and falling staff numbers, food law enforcers are having to do more with less.

The decline in enforcement activity has been significant. With a third fewer food law enforcement staff compared with a decade ago, Local Authority checks on food premises have fallen by 15% – and over fifty thousand food safety checks are missed on average each year.

Our research has found that nearly one in five food products tested by Local Authorities contain undeclared allergens. Meanwhile, research for the Food Standards Agency suggests there is 50% less capacity for food inspections in England than there is in Wales or Northern Ireland.

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Your stories

NADIM AND TANYA’S STORY

After our 15-year old daughter Natasha died after having a severe allergic reaction to a pre-packed sandwich we campaigned to bring about change.

MEGAN’S STORY

Megan was fifteen when she ordered a takeaway with a friend. It wasn’t until later that evening that Megan suffered an acute asthma attack.

EDWARD’S STORY

"One of my most memorable cases was a takeaway in the Borough called Golden Dragon which I received a complaint about from a consumer."

MASON’S STORY

In 2005, the UK’s second biggest outbreak of E.coli O157 struck 44 schools in south Wales. 157 people fell ill during the outbreak, many of them children.

GARYN’S STORY

"I contracted E.coli O157 at 10 years old from infected meat in my school dinner."

JOANNA’S STORY

"We were a typical family working hard and trying to bring up a young family, when tragically we lost our 6 year old daughter Joanna after she ate contaminated meat which contained the deadly bacterium E.coli O157."