Food and Environment Research Agency
The Food and Environment Research Agency
|Legal status||Government agency|
|Purpose||To support and develop a sustainable food chain, a healthy natural environment, and to protect the global community from biological and chemical risks.|
|Chief Executive||Adrian Belton|
The agency was formed by bringing together the Central Science Laboratory (CSL) at Sand Hutton, the Plant Health Division (PHD)/Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI) in York, the Plant Variety Rights Office and Seeds Division (PVS) in Cambridge and the UK Government Decontamination Service at MoD Stafford.
The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) was established to support and develop a sustainable food chain, a healthy natural environment, and to protect the global community from biological and chemical risks.
Fera specialises in the sciences underpinning agriculture for sustainable crop production, environmental management and conservation and in food safety and quality. Fera has statutory responsibilities for delivering policy and inspectorate functions in relation to Plant Health, Bee Health and Plant Varieties and Seeds. Fera is part of the UK capability to respond to, and recover from, emergency situations, including accidental or deliberate release of hazardous materials.
Food and drink
Fera's food and drink analytical testing services are supported by scientific expertise, detailed knowledge of both current and emerging regulations, and internationally recognised quality standards. Fera provides a full range of analytical tests addressing food contaminants that are restricted under EU food safety legislation. Fera specialises in testing for contaminants migrating from food packaging materials, testing, identifying and measuring the levels of mycotoxins, and contaminants resulting from food processing.
Fera also offers a complete package of services to help protect against mites in commodities and premises. The services cover detection, monitoring and prevention of mites in the food and feed processing and storage, grain and other commodity storage, veterinary and retail sectors.
Fera has the largest concentration of vertebrate ecologists in the UK.
Fera's Bird Management Unit is recognised around the world as a leading provider of consultancy, research and training, specialising in two industry sectors of aviation (including bird strike services) and renewable energy.
Fera is responsible, on behalf of Defra, for implementing the plant health Regulations in England, and in Wales (on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government). A range of services are available to help growers, traders and the general public meet their obligations under the plant health rules.
Fera's Plant Clinic provides a market-leading service with over 80 years experience in pest and disease identification services for all horticultural and agricultural crops, garden plants and plant-based products.
Fera is also responsible for the Government's bee health policy in England and in particular, the implementation of the Healthy Bees Plan. Fera's National Bee Unit (NBU) delivers the bee health programme in England and in Wales (on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government).
Fera acts as a specialist service provider to companies in the agrochemical, pharmaceutical and industrial chemicals sectors.
Fera also provides In Silico Predictive Toxicology (INSPECT) - Chemical assessment by in silico methods (QSAR), with a team comprising Computational Chemists, Toxicologists, Ecotoxicologists, Environmental Scientists and Exposure Modellers.
Research and science
Areas covered by Fera include:
- Crop and food security 
- Next generation sequencing  (Pyrosequencing)
- Agri-environment and land use strategy 
- Wildlife management 
- Evidence and analysis 
- Plant and pest disease 
Fera is also home to:
- FAPAS (international food analysis proficiency testing services)
- National Collection of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria
- The National Bee Unit
- Food confidence
- Wildlife Incident Unit
- Plant Breeders' Rights
- National Listing
- Seed Certification
- REACH services
- The Food and Environment Research Agency: official site