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The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is upgrading its websites to handle surges of enquiries about food scares.

The move follows the realisation that the main FSA website struggled to cope during the Sudan 1 dyes product recall crisis in 2005. Traffic to the website increased 15 fold during that incident.

An FSA spokesperson told GC News: "Lessons were learnt from Sudan 1 that we need to be able to act instantly to major incidents which will create high volumes of consumer concern. The new system will allow us to do that."

FSA is using utility computing technology to make its website management more flexible. The system, designed by IT provider Savvis, enables the agency to adjust bandwidth accordingly and will ensure it can provide timely and accurate information to the public in the event of incidents.

It will also help ensure the resilience of the government agency's websites, which include www.food.gov.uk, www.eatwell.gov.uk, and www.salt.gov.uk.

FSA managing web editor David Payne said: "The agency's brief is to be an independent voice, putting consumers first in relation to food. It is essential that we are open and accessible to the public at all times and our websites are key to achieving this."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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