Paper 10.5 ACSS Secretariat Update (February 2023)

Last updated: 22 February 2023

This paper is for information and provides an update to members on secretariat activity. Key meeting dates and topics of discussion at other FSA SACs are presented in Annex A. 


In September 2022 we said farewell to Susan Michie as our ACSS Chair and welcomed Julie Hill (previously Deputy Chair) into the role. Julie Barnett will take on the Deputy Chair role. 

Following a successful induction event on the 10th October, we have welcomed 3 new members to the ACSS: 

  • Dr Naomi Maynard is the Good Food Programme Director at Feeding Liverpool, leading Liverpool’s food alliance and Good Food Plan. 

  • Professor Fiona Gillison is a Professor of Health Psychology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Motivation and Health Behaviour Change at the University of Bath. 

  • Dr Charlotte Hardman is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and co-director of the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Food Systems (CESFS) at the University of Liverpool. 

The members page of the ACSS website has been updated to reflect these changes. All 3 of our new members have joined the assurance working group. Additionally, Fiona has joined the KL2 group and Naomi has joined the WCI group. 


We will be joining the SAC recruitment campaign in the late summer of 2023. We will be seeking members from Northern Ireland and Wales to improve our representation of the devolved administrations and would be grateful if members could consider suitable applicants within their networks.    

SAC Review  

The self-assessment stage has been completed and results have been published for those SACs not undergoing deep review. The external reviewers for the deep review (that both the ACSS and Science Council are subject to as both were created since the last review cycle) have been announced as Professor Sir Charles Godfray (Director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford) supported by Professor Annette Boaz (Professor in Health and Social Care Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). Outcomes of the deep review are expected to be published in June 2023.  

SSEG collaboration 

The ACSS chair and secretariat team have been liaising with the social science subgroup of DEFRAs Science Committee and attended the Social Science Expert Group (SSEG) plenary meeting on the 23rd November. It was a very informative session and the SSEG were keen to hear about the ACSS working group model and the assurance role the committee plays. We are currently exploring ways for the ACSS and SSEG to be more ‘joined up’ and anticipate that this will be based around:  

  • Communication: e.g. cross committee attendance at plenary meetings  

  • Co-operation on topics/methods/processes of joint interest.  

  • Collaborative working groups 

Knowledge sharing and networking event   

We are in the process of working up plans for an ACSS networking day to be held in the spring. The overarching purpose of this event is to better utilise ACSS members’ academic and research networks. This will better position the ACSS and FSA to respond to new challenges by improving our understanding of the social science evidence base relevant to our ARIs. A secondary aim of the event is to encourage SAC applications from researchers with more diverse backgrounds, building a pipeline for recruitment ahead of the 2023 recruitment campaign.   

Science Council 

Last meeting: 8 December 2022, key agenda items included:   

  • The Chair presented a summary of her activity over the last 6 months.  

  • The FSA led a discussion of the FSA Science Update 2022 (FSA 22/12/07) to the FSA Board.  

  • The CSA updated the Council on his recent activity and discussions (including Government Office of Science’s review of SACs, changing FSA priorities this year, the Precision Breeding Bill).  

  • Updates from Science Council members attending Scientific Advisory Committees (SACs) and a proposed streamlining of members’ engagement.  

Next open meeting: 7 September 2023  

Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) 

Last meeting: 16th November 2022. Key topics included:  

  • The Magnesium-L-threonate application was reviewed for a second time with further information to be requested from applicant.   

  • The committee was updated on the progress of the CBD subgroup with outstanding areas for discussion identified and notice of upcoming meetings to be arranged.  

  • A workshop was held to continue discussions from the previous PGT subcommittee meeting further exploring the development of framework for Precision Bred Organisms. Discussion on the development of advice to the FSA and how this could be proportionately reviewed scientifically.  

  • The Barley Rice protein and Cetylated fatty acids draft opinions returned for final input. The opinion for Barley Rice required minor rewording in some areas and both opinions aim to be published early next year.     

  • The 2021 annual report was reviewed. The committee were satisfied with the report with minimal input where no further review or clearance would be required. This will also be published soon.   

  • A discussion for approach to assessment of solvent use for CBD applications was held. The legal frameworks in place were considered sufficient at present. However, the committee invited further review if more information pertaining to any risk, that is not currently addressed by legislation and regulatory requirements, were to be identified.  

Next meeting: 7th and 8th February 2022 

Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) 

Last meeting: 20th October 2022. Key topics included:  

  • The Secretariat produced an information paper that summarised action taken on points arise from the minutes of previous meetings.  

  • The Committee considered the finalised version of the output from the June 2022 horizon scanning workshop. 

  • Quality Assurance of Microbiological Strategic Risk Assessments  

  • Members were updated on the objectives of the network as well as research priorities that have been developed with food stakeholders, and the network's planned activities. 

  • Food Standard Scotland presented an overview of a proposed survey to provide a baseline understanding of the microbiological quality of Ready To Eat (RTE) food sold through social media.  

  • Members received a presentation on the third study of infectious intestinal disease in the UK project (IID3) and updated on current progress.  

Next meeting: 9 February 2023.  

Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) 

Last meeting: 14th December 2022. Key topics included:  

  • Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the aircraft cabin air environment. 

  • Considered a discussion paper on EFSA’s 2022 assessment of the genotoxicity of acrylamide and a paper summarising the health-based guidance values for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

  • They also considered how to take forward a review of Codex’s report on food allergen threshold levels.  

  • The committee continued to work on the second draft statement on the potential risk to human health of turmeric and curcumin supplements. 

  • A second draft sub-statement on the potential risk(s) from exposure to microplastics: Inhalation route. 

Next meeting: 7th February 2023 

Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COC)  

Last meeting:  17th November 2022.  

  • Meeting held as workshop - “Changing the paradigm: How should we assess cancer risk in the UK?”  

Next meeting(s): 16th March 2023  

The Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COM) 

Last meeting: 13th October 2022. Key topics included:  

  •  Review of EFSA opinion on titanium dioxide   

  • TMBPF-DGE can coating (reserved)   

  • Horizon scanning   

  • Draft guidance statement “The Use of Biomarkers in Genotoxicity Risk Assessment   

  • Non expert summaries for COM website    

Next meeting(s): 23rd February 2023 

The Advisory Committee on Animal Feeding stuffs (ACAF) 

Last meeting: 9th December 2022. Key topics included: 

  • Minutes discussed from the last meeting, any changes that need to be made have been noted. (ACAF/81/01) 

  • Dossier for assessment RP709 ProAct 360 – the application was reviewed and the applicant will be asked to provide further information.  

  • Dossier for assessment RP746 Agal-Pro - the application was reviewed and the applicant will be asked to provide further information. 

  • Dossier for assessment RP748 Coxam - the application was reviewed and the applicant will be asked to provide further information. 

  • Dossier for assessment RP791 Lactobacillus buchneri - the application was reviewed, and the applicant will be asked to provide further information.  

  • Reviewed the RFI responses for RP1071, RP226, RP416, RP666 and RP686.  

  • Draft opinions were evaluated for RP557, 600 – RP140, 141, 142, 284, RP641. The members provided feedback on the content and finalised previous opinions. All opinions on these are agreed by the committee so can go out. 

  • The committee members workload and expertise were discussed, the number of meetings per year, including discussion on virtual meetings and in person meetings, and discussed areas where new members will be needed.  

  • Members discussed how they can share information potentially of interest to other ACAF members. Was suggested to share it through the secretariat first.  

  • Discussion on what can be done to make it easier for members to navigate through the applications.  

Next meeting(s): 15th February 2023 

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)   

Last meeting: 11 November 2022. Key topics included: 

  • Feeding young children aged 1-5   

  • Vitamin D fortification update  

  • Updated SACN framework   

Next meeting(s): 16 March 2023