The Food Standards Agency has unveiled plans for a more consistent approach to ‘risky foods’ such as rare burgers and raw seafood.

Presented to the FSA board this week by policy director Steve Wearne, the plans suggest a move away from directive-based regulation and more responsibility put on food suppliers and consumers. The plans are still in their infancy, but Wearne said they could ultimately include the introduction of a rating system on ‘risky’ food items to aid consumer understanding.

He added that other controls, such as compulsory registration, increased labelling requirements and more inspections, could also be considered.

The FSA has not yet established a definition of ‘risky foods,’ though rare burgers and raw prawns are likely to be included. A spokesman said the plans announced this week would not affect the FSA’s approach to regulating raw milk, which is currently under review.

“We’re not attempting to demonise some foods,” Wearne claimed, adding the FSA was trying to establish a way of consistently assessing controls on risky food while taking into consideration the wide spectrum of consumer understanding.

A proposal paper ­presented to the board warned a move away from a directive-based approach meant the FSA had to be clear about the nature and magnitude of the risks associated with food, and consumers’ responsibility for their own food choices.

A shift towards greater risk ownership by suppliers and consumers made sense, said Dr Geoff Spriegel, CEO of Leatherhead Food Research, though he added: “We encourage the FSA to be clear about what is expected from manufacturers.”

The FSA board is expected to discuss the plans again in January.