The FSA is responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the UK. We work with local authorities to enforce food safety regulations. We have staff who work in UK meat plants, and who carry dairy hygiene inspections in England and Wales to check that the requirements of the regulations are being met. We are responsible for food safety legislation. Most food safety legislation originates from Europe and we negotiate on behalf of the UK in Europe. We also commission research related to food safety.
In all our dealings with us you can expect us to be efficient and professional. We want to help your businesses to be a success, and want you to feel able to come to us for advice when you need it.
Information and guidance for businesses can be found in the Business and industry section of this website. We also work with industry on the production of industry guides. A series of national guides has been produced by the food industry and provides guidance to good hygiene practice and the application of HACCP principles within the legislative framework. We recognise these industry guides.
We also produce a wide range of publications for the public and the food industry. Publications can be downloaded from our publications page.
When any change in policy is considered we consult those affected. Our Help Shape Our Polices section provides opportunities for consumers, food businesses, local authorities and anyone interested in the work of the FSA to comment. We also carry out formal written consultations.
Approach to checks on compliance
For businesses registered or approved by your local authority, the inspectors will be enforcement officers from your local authority (or district council in Northern Ireland). Read the ‘Food law inspections and your business’ page for more information.
For businesses that require approval by the FSA, inspections will be carried out by FSA staff. Information on what can be expected can be found in the Meat Industry Guide (MIG). The MIG aims to assist UK meat plant operators whose premises require approval and veterinary control under the European Union Food Hygiene Regulations
Responding to non-compliance
If you are inspected by your local authority the Food Law Code of Practice and Feed Law Code of Practice set out the way local authorities should apply food law and animal feed law, and how they should work with food businesses to deal with non-compliance using a hierarchy of enforcement starting with advice and guidance.
For businesses inspected by the FSA, such as approved meat premises (slaughterhouses, cutting premises, farmed and wild game facilities and co-located minced meat and meat products premises) and dairies when we require you to take action we will:
- Use our hierarchy of enforcement starting with advice and guidance as set out in the Manual for Official Controls
- Explain the nature of the non-compliance, and discuss with you what is required to achieve compliance.
- Clearly explain any advice, actions required or decisions we have taken and agree a timescale for action to be taken.
- Provide details in writing on how to appeal against any advice or action required, including any statutory rights.
The Manual for Official Controls, which can be found via a link towards the end of this page, provides details of the tasks, responsibilities and duties FSA staff and veterinary contractors undertake in approved establishments, including dairy premises.
Fees and charges
Some of the FSA services in approved meat plants are charged to food business operators (FBOs). The FSA guide on Charges for Official Controls in Meat Premises, which can be found via the link towards the end of this page, aims to assist FBOs in understanding the basis on which fees and charges are calculated.
The guide also contains information on how to complain about an invoice.
Complaints and appeals
We are always willing to discuss with you the reasons why we have acted in a particular way.
To make a complaint about the FSA, information can be found via the 'Complaints and comments' link below.
Information about how to appeal against a decision made by your local authority can be found via the 'How to make an appeal' link below.