The Food Standards Agency (FSA) saw an increase in the number of food incidents it investigated last year.
These included reports of contaminated or illegal food entering the food chain, with some potentially harmful to the public.
According to the Annual Report of Incidents 2011, 1,714 food incidents were investigated by the FSA last year, compared to 1,505 in 2010. This is a further increase on the 1,208 incidents reported in 2009.
No single reason has been identified for the increasing number. The FSA believes a combination of factors is behind the rise, but the most likely is improved monitoring and reporting.
The Annual Report of Incidents 2011 shows increases across a number of categories of food incident. For example, the increase in reports of microbiological contamination, which has been seen since 2006, has continued. There were 281 such incidents in 2011, compared to 271 in 2010, and 147 going back to 2006.
Tim Smith, chief executive of the FSA, said: "Keeping food safe is the FSA’s priority and investigating food incidents is a key part of that. Our annual report gives a real insight into the vital role we play in protecting the food chain from a wide range of risks."
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