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Our environment

​​​​​(October 2019) 

Our strategic environment is being challenged by rapid change and we need to ensure that our risk assessment priorities, evidence requirements and methodologies can predict and respond to global trends in a dynamic food system. Significant trends and future scenarios that are expected to challenge current approaches include:

  • Environmental change, changes in population demographics, ethnicity, all-year round access and an increasing diversity of food available to consumers. The centralised production and distribution of food results in an increase in food miles and carbon footprint.

  • A changing retail supply chain with emphasis on e-commerce, and a move toward real time risk assessment and management decisions being made based on digitised information throughout the food supply chain to facilitate trade

  • Increases in the prevalence of diet-related disease such as food allergy, chronic illness associated with overweight and obesity, and foodborne illness due to Salmonella and Campylobacter.

  • Application of new technologies, such as in the wider area of biotechnology, synthetic biology or nanotechnologies which can introduce new risk factors to the food chain.

  • Advances in omics tools, whole genome sequencing and other analytical techniques aid in our understanding of epigenetics, gene interaction and metabolic biomarkers for disease and health, providing opportunities for both innovation and more refined safety assessment.

  • Increased proportion of income that consumers are spending on food and food service, and demand for more information on food matters through digital services in real-time, and a proliferation of consumer advice on food safety issues and healthy food choices from a variety of sources.

  • An increased need for more efficient use of resources, arising from escalating demand and limited supply, as well as an increasing demand for additional services including support through greater clarity of regulatory requirements and procedures.


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