The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom this week published official statistics on food law enforcement by local authorities across the UK for 2015-16. Information provided by local authorities and compiled by the FSA, gives a detailed breakdown of enforcement activity across the country.
The figures show an increase in some local authority enforcement activity, and levels of hygiene compliance in food business, in spite of reported staffing reductions.
Nicky Harrison, head of the Regulatory Delivery Division at the FSA, said: “While these results provide reassurance that local authorities are prioritizing resources and continuing to target their work, we continue to see lower staffing levels, which have continued to fall and which reduced by 6 percent in 2015-16 compared with the previous year.
“We’re very aware of pressures on staff resources at local authorities and we are working with senior colleagues across the UK to ensure that effective controls are in place in local authorities to protect both consumers and food businesses.
“At the same time we are have started working together with local authorities, businesses, assurance providers and consumers in the design of a new smart, innovative and sustainable regulatory model for ensuring food is safe and what it says it is.”
The FSA monitors local authority performance through the Local Authority Enforcement Monitoring System (LAEMS) returns and reports on an annual basis.
The Framework Agreement on the Delivery of Official Feed and Food Controls by local authorities is the mechanism by which the FSA sets out the standards for local authority food law services, which includes the FSA’s monitoring and audit processes.
LAEMS is a web-based system to which local authorities are able to upload data generated from the local systems on which they record data on food law enforcement activities.
Once uploaded to LAEMS, the local authority data is aggregated to the pre-defined categories required by the FSA such as interventions, sampling and enforcement.
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