Search

‘What is it about those three letters ‘FSA’ that make you want to shake your head in disbelief?’

14:43 27 February 2013

Lance Forman who manages the 107 year-old family firm

Lance Forman who manages the 107 year-old family firm

CARMEN VALINO ALL RIGHTS - on shift

Lance Forman, Forman & Field

What is it about those three letters ‘FSA’ that make you want to shake your head in disbelief? And I’m not talking about a Flying Saucer Attack.

First we have the Financial Services Authority. In order to regulate an industry and protect savers and investors from the excesses of the market, they set about ensuring that at any time you might want to invest in any product, large or small, risky or not risky, no such investment could take place unless you, the investor, could prove your identity with a copy of a utility bill and passport or driver’s license. Whilst this mighty regularity body focussed on seemingly pointless paperwork and box ticking, which anyone intent on fraud could easily have obviated, the entire financial system almost collapsed around it.

Now we have the other FSA, the Food Standards Agency. So fixated with the multiplicity of rules and regulations, seemingly to protect consumers against unhealthy food, they have allowed a food regime to evolve which is not what it says on the label, literally. Last week, the Food Minister said that the horsemeat scandal was an issue of food fraud, but not about food health risk. Is he in the real world? If a food producer is happy to sell horse as beef, or pork as chicken, why would they feel an urge to be more honest about their food hygiene standards, if this could make them additional cost savings.

The problem with the food industry today, like so many other industries, is that there are too many costly rules and regulations and rather than building business relationships on trust, honesty, close supply partnerships and loyalty, they are built on meaningless pieces of paper, too much pressure to seek out the cheapest deal and far too much box ticking.

Producers supplying into supermarkets are usually asked to be compliant with BRC, the British Retail Consortium, as a mark of quality. The reality is, that this is not about quality but about consistency. You can produce an unhealthy, obese-creating, sugar -loaded product, full of e-numbers and still get BRC accreditation, providing the dreadful product you produce is consistently dreadful.

Food manufacturers tick boxes to show that they have cleaned floors, checked the temperatures of fridges and so on, even though in reality, they may not actually do these tasks. Next time you go into a fast food restaurant WC – check the loo cleaning schedule and you will often find the 10.30am shift is ticked at 9.00am, before it’s even been done. We live in a world where it’s all about the paperwork to ‘prove’ what has been done, so that everyone can cover their backs when it all goes horribly wrong and the legal claims start flying. If firms spent more time actually cleaning floors rather than ticking boxes saying they’d cleaned them, we’d have real progress.

Perhaps the Free Syrian Army will get it right.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:13
Candidates at our social media hustings last month

Newham – along with the rest of the country – goes to the polls on Thursday, and we’ll be bringing you live coverage every step of the way.

Yesterday, 16:41
Fundraiser Paul Ennis

More than 60 people took the plunge and abseiled down the UK’s tallest sculpture to raise funds for a children’s hospice on Saturday.

Yesterday, 16:00
Boleyn Development 100 are calling for total social housing at the West Ham ground

Activists campaigning for total social housing at the Boleyn Ground development have demanded its developers be “kicked off” the project.

Stephen Timms
Yesterday, 14:18
Pupils at St Antony's are preparing for the future by learning business skills

Pupils at St Antony’s Primary School have raised £200 for a church in Forest Gate.

Most read news

Competitions

Limited edition Opihr Gin goodies up for grabs!

Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin is a unique style of London Dry Gin created at G&J one of the world’s oldest gin distillers, using exotic botanicals, herbs and spices.

Read more
Pop on the most stylish eyewear around from Specsavers.

London eyecare specialists Specsavers are offering London24 readers the chance to win a £150 voucher to spend on stylish eyewear in the city.

Read more

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder