Last updated on 19 January 2012
Review of official controls delivery: frequently asked questions
Further information on the review
Competent authorities are the various central Government departments/agencies, local authorities or other organisations that are responsible for organising and delivering official controls. The FSA has responsibility at central Government level for the majority of food and feed law in the UK, and is known as the central competent authority.
The Agency oversees the work of the other organisations (competent authorities) that actually monitor and enforce the law (that is, carry out official controls day-to-day), which includes other Government departments such as Defra, and local authorities. However, the FSA retains direct responsibility for the delivery of official controls in approved meat plants, and delivers these as a competent authority in its own right through its operations group.
The review will look at the activities that local authorities and port health authorities undertake to monitor and make sure businesses comply with food law. The review will also look at compliance with any requirements that have been determined by the FSA (as the central competent authority). This will include:
- official controls delivery as defined within Regulation (EC) No 882/2004, which are the checks such as inspections, surveillance and sampling, that are carried out to monitor if businesses are complying with the requirements set out in food law
- any other activity, such as providing advice and guidance and taking enforcement action, that is aimed at making sure food business operators comply with food law
- any other activity required by the FSA (as central competent authority), such as completion of service level plans and data returns
Why are you focusing on local authorities and port health authorities, when official controls are also delivered by other organisations, including the FSA?
This review is only part of the work being done to look at how official controls are delivered in the UK. This includes looking at how official controls are delivered by the Agency and how work is carried out on our behalf under service level agreements, for example:
- official veterinarians and meat inspection services
- shellfish monitoring
- dairy hygiene inspections
- trichinella testing
- egg hygiene inspections
- wine sampling and analysis
No, we’re not. Food safety is an issue for the UK as a whole and we must ensure there are consistent levels of consumer protection across the UK while ensuring that delivery is responsive to local needs. The review will gather evidence to assess the current delivery system and look at the options for making improvements. We remain completely open-minded about what may emerge from the process. Options will be compared against the principles and outcomes for the review; which provide the criteria for the successful delivery of official controls.