Management of food incidents by Australian food regulators
Meyer, Samantha B
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Aim This paper explores how food regulators respond to food incidents and the barriers and enablers associated with doing so. Methods Twenty‐six semi‐structured interviews lasting between 30 and 60 minutes were undertaken with Australian food regulators. Regulators worked across food policy development, implementation, enforcement and standards setting. These interviews ascertained food regulators' views on food safety and responses to real and hypothetical food incidents. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results Food regulators reported that working together with other food regulators is an important part of effective food regulation and response to food incidents. Strategies for working together included clarifying expectations and developing formal documents such as a memorandum of understanding. However, challenges in working together were reported, including different risk thresholds, different political agendas and a lack of clarity on regulators' roles. Conclusions A focus on partnerships and good communication between food regulators is likely to facilitate effective management of food incidents, and maximise the chances that food incidents do not lead to increased consumer morbidity and mortality as a result of a poor response to a food incident.
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