About the FSA

The Food Standards Agency is responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the UK. We work with local authorities to enforce food safety regulations and have staff who work in UK meat plants to check that the requirements of the regulations are being met. We also commission research related to food safety.

Our values

  • putting the consumer first
  • openness and transparency
  • science- and evidence-based
  • acting independently
  • enforcing food law fairly

FSA Board and structure

The FSA is led by a Board that has been appointed to act in the public interest and not to represent particular sectors. Board members have a wide range of relevant skills and experience.

Although the FSA is a government department, it works at 'arm's length' from government because it doesn't report to a specific minister and is free to publish any advice it issues. We are, however, accountable to parliament through health ministers, and to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for our activities within their areas.

Our UK headquarters are in London, but the FSA also has offices in York, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Responsibilities for food-related policies

FSA responsibilities
Food safety and hygiene FSA UK
Labelling (safety, allergy) FSA UK
Food law enforcement FSA UK and local authorities

Split responsibilities England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
Nutrition and Nutrition labelling Department of Health Welsh Government FSA in Scotland FSA in Northern Ireland
Labelling (other) Defra FSA in Wales FSA in Scotland FSA in Northern Ireland

Responsibility of other departments England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
Animal welfare Defra Welsh Government Scottish Government  


How does the FSA make its decisions?

We base our decisions and advice on the best evidence available, including commissioning research and obtaining advice from independent advisory committees. We also aim to ensure that our decision-making process is as open and transparent in as possible.

Whenever possible, we seek the views of interested parties before reaching conclusions, and always explain the reasons for a decision or advice in a straightforward manner.

Strategy to 2015

The five outcomes the FSA aims to deliver are:

  • Food produced or sold in the UK is safe to eat.
  • Imported food is safe to eat.
  • Food producers and caterers give priority to consumer interests in relation to food.
  • Consumers have the information and understanding they need to make informed choices about where and what they eat.
  • Business compliance is effectively supported because it delivers consumer protection. This will include a focus on effective, risk-based and proportionate regulation and enforcement.

The full strategy can be found at the link below.

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