As part of my Nutrition degree studies I have just completed job shadowing with the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The FSA is responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the UK as well as nutrition is Scotland and Northern Ireland. Job shadowing was a great way to gain an overview of the FSA, its key priorities and structure.
I spent time with the Research and Analysis Division who gave me a good insight into the Agencies role in the ‘Food and You’ survey, which takes place every two years. This national survey involves interviews with members of the public to help understand how people buy, prepare, store food and their attitudes to eating in and out of the home. The 2014 survey is currently underway with interviews being conducted with randomly selected households across the UK. I would encourage anyone invited to take part and results of earlier surveys are available via the FSA website.
I also spent time with the Food Allergy Team and attended a meeting with the Department of Health which illustrated how they work together to determine policy based on research findings. I also gained an understanding of new food allergy labelling legislation being introduced later this year and the obligations of food manufacturers and food outlets under the new regulations
I really enjoyed my time at the Food Standards Agency and it was great to chat through my dissertation research proposal with Agency colleagues. Having reflected on the experience I now understand that although the subject matter may be very different, skills gained working in one government department or industry are easily transferable to another.
A big thank you goes out to the FSA for their welcome and support.