Spotlight on imported food regulation - new guidance for local authorities
Monday 15 October 2007
A new guidance booklet for local authorities on imported food regulation has been published today by the Food Standards Agency.
About half the food we eat in the UK is imported, and the regulation of these products stretches far beyond its point-of-entry into the country. Ensuring that the imported food on sale complies with the law is the shared responsibility of authorities at borders (seaports and airports) and inland, the Agency, and our enforcement partners.
The booklet for local authorities outlines the support available to help port and inland health authorities increase their imported food sampling to the minimum of 10%, the national target set by the FSA, Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Servies and the Association of Port Health Authorities. Nearly 24,000 samples of imported food were taken by UK enforcement authorities in 2006/07, but only about one in three local and port health authorities carried out this sampling.
Sarah Appleby, Head of Imported Food at the FSA said, 'We want to keep enforcement of imported food controls high on the local authority agenda. We know there’s been a lot of hard work done in this area, but our recent questionnaire shows that many authorities think that the imported food regulation is only relevant to seaports and airports. This is not so, and this booklet outlines the support we can offer to achieve better controls in this area.'
The publication 'Working together on imported food' can be found at the link below. Hard copies will be sent to all UK local authorities to distribute to their food law enforcement officers.
The science behind the story
Check out Agency Chief Scientist Dr Andrew Wadge's blog posting on imported food and the importance of using sampling and scientific analysis to assess business compliance with food standards, protect public health and provide consumer choice at food.gov.uk/scienceblog.