The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has expressed concern that local authorities do not have the resources to deliver food controls.

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing compliance with food safety and standards legislation for food businesses. The FSA monitors and reports on their performance but does not decide how they are funded.

FSA said the latest data shows local authorities are “a long way off” from meeting the required frequencies of interventions at lower-risk establishments. This means some outlets in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland have not been checked for many years.

Between April and September 2023, local authorities carried out 87

Continue Reading FSA is concerned about the lack of local authority resources

Different stakeholders have shared positive and negative opinions on the food hygiene rating system in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The research covers the views of local authorities, businesses, and consumers on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) and was published recently by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Four online discussion groups in February 2022 included 64 consumers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, who were also asked about six potential changes to regulations. Awareness of the FHRS varied among consumers, as did the extent to which people used it.

Public view
Participants often described FHRS ratings as making little

Continue Reading Public and businesses share thoughts on the food hygiene rating system

The Food and Drug Administration has developed a new strategy to improve the safety of soft Queso Fresco cheeses in response to several outbreaks traced to such cheese.

In 2021 the FDA investigated a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to El Abuelito Cheese products that sickened at least 13 people in four states and killed one person in Maryland.

Additionally, from 2014 to 2017 there were outbreaks of infections caused by Listeria in the United States that were linked to the consumption of soft Queso Fresco type (QFT) cheeses. From 1998 to 2014 officials identified a dozen outbreaks of listeriosis

Continue Reading Public health officials take steps to ensure the safety of soft Queso Fresco type cheeses

Guidance from the Food Standards Agency helped local authorities handle food-related work during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an assessment.

In June 2021, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) provided local authorities with a plan for running food hygiene and food standards services during the pandemic. It will apply until the end of March 2023, when decisions are made about proposed new delivery models for food hygiene and standards. 

Between April and July 2022, the FSA assessed performance against the requirements of the COVID-19 Recovery Plan. Eleven local authorities from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland were checked.

Diverted resources
Councils all started

Continue Reading FSA assesses the impact of advice to local authorities during COVID-19

Editor’s note: This is part four of a four-part series.

In the previous three articles, I described what I consider the underlying causes of the devolution of FSIS as an organization. Any fool can criticize. I am not a fool. Here is what I would do to address my criticisms if I were the FSIS Administrator. You may call me naïve; but, where there is a will, there is a way. The impossible just takes a little longer. 

Mission

I consider the 1993 decision by FSIS to declare itself a public health agency with a mission to “prevent foodborne illness

Continue Reading FSIS and fixing the problem

The food safety control system in Poland “leaves much to be desired,” according to the country’s Supreme Audit Office (NIK).

NIK analyzed nine of its inspections carried out in the past six years and five audits by the European Commission on food safety in Poland.

It found overlapping competences between agencies and a lack of cooperation between control bodies. Also, many conclusions and recommendations from previous inspections had not yet been implemented. In Poland, controls of food are carried out by several state institutions.

NIK discovered examples where the different agencies responsible for control did not inform each other about
Continue Reading Audit calls for change to food safety system in Poland

Danish authorities have found a quarter of companies don’t follow the rules when collecting or delivering food.

A Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) control campaign from May to September 2021 looked at the transport of food at retail level. It did not cover the occasional delivery of food ordered from supermarkets or restaurants.

Officials did 385 inspections to analyze the hygiene and temperature conditions for food transport. Refrigerated goods must be moved at a maximum of 5 degrees C (41 degrees F).

If food is not stored and transported correctly there is a risk that the cold chain will
Continue Reading Danish control finds food transport violations

The Food and Drug Administration has extended the previously announced temporary changes to its inspectional activities to ensure the safety of its employees and those of the firms it regulates.

The reduction of inspections comes “as the agency further adapts to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of the omicron variant.”

The agency continues to conduct both foreign and domestic mission-critical inspections, as well as provide oversight of foods, drugs, medical products and tobacco leveraging a variety of tools. Those tools include using remote assessments and import operations surveillance.

The FDA is extending its “pause” on domestic surveillance
Continue Reading FDA will continue scaled back inspections for foreign food through March

The frequency of official controls should not be reduced solely based on the existence of a certified food safety management system (FSMS), according to a recent report on a study.

Results from 1,484 official inspections of 110 Finnish sites covering slaughterhouses, other meat establishments, fish and milk plants, and bakeries with and without a certified FSMS were studied from 2016 to 2018. Overall, 59 had a certified FSMS and 51 did not.

A comparison of scores between sites with and without a certified FSMS found only minor differences. Results indicated an “inconsistent” influence of certified FSMSs on compliance among different
Continue Reading Study examines impact of FSMS on compliance with food safety rules

CONTRIBUTED

David Vasquez, supervisory consumer safety inspector (SCSI) at Establishment (Est.) M675 in Hereford, Texas, has been with FSIS for 28 years. He supervises 20 food inspectors (FI), 4 consumer safety inspectors (CSI) and 2 intermittent FIs. He also juggles a variety of tasks.

He supervises 20 food inspectors (FI), 4 consumer safety inspectors (CSI) and 2 intermittent FIs. He also juggles a variety of tasks. In addition to ensuring regulatory compliance, he mentors, manages training and resolves staffing issues, and then there’s administrative items such as time and attendance sheets, workers compensation forms and travel vouchers. He also spends
Continue Reading Faces of Food Safety: Meet David Vasquez of the FSIS