The public, public health professionals and food sector partners will be able to weigh in on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, which included a regulation power for the Secretary of State to confer additional investigatory powers upon food crime officers of the FSA in England and Wales.
FSA chief executive Emily Miles said: “The NFCU needs to be able to do its work effectively and efficiently to protect consumers and businesses from food fraud.
“To do this the proposed changes are a crucial/vital tool to make sure that investigations can happen more quickly, while also freeing up local police services so their vital resources can be diverted to other priorities.
Miles made assurances that any use of these investigatory techniques would be restrained and focused on effective regulation to prevent and detect food crime, and subject to robust controls and external scrutiny.
“We remain committed to using any enhanced powers in a proportionate way that keeps the public safe, with strengthened safeguards and oversight arrangements to guard against their abuse,” she added. “We encourage everyone who wants to have their say to respond so that they can inform our work in the future.”
Stakeholders in England and Wales are invited to respond to the twelve-week consultation ended 18 August 2022. The FSA intends to hold a consultation for Northern Ireland in due course.
This consultation does not apply to Scotland, where Food Standards Scotland’s dedicated Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit is responsible for delivering the food crime response.