Freedom of Information requests

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs) provide the general right of access to information held by public authorities.

Access information held by the FSA

Under the FOIA and EIRs you have the right to request any recorded information held by public authorities, such as the Food Standards Agency.  This includes information held on computers, in emails, datasets, printed or handwritten documents, images, videos and sound recordings.

How to make a Freedom of Information request

Before you make a request, do check our website to see if the information is already available.  We have a publication scheme which lists some of the main types of information we publish.

Also check our disclosure log. The FSA publishes responses to requests made both under the FOI Act and the EIRs that we feel are of a wider public interest.  You may find we have already published the information you're interested in.

If you want to make a request for information to the FSA:

To make a valid request, you must provide:

  • Your name
  • An address to receive the information (this can be an email address)
  • A clear description of the information you want. Be as specific as possible about the information you want rather than asking general questions.  Try to include details such as dates and names whenever you can.

The Information Commissioner's Office has useful tips to help you to make a valid FOI request

Once the FSA receives your request for information, we will acknowledge your request and provide a full response within 20 working days of receiving the request. If this is not possible for reasons permitted under the FOI Act, we will let you know.

Bear in mind that we won't be able to respond to requests if it will cost more that £600 to find and extract the information (under the FOI Act) or if the amount of work involved would make responding to the request "manifestly unreasonable" (under the EIRs).

Also, some sensitive information isn't available to the public.  If this is the case, we will tell you why we can't provide some or all of the information you requested.  A summary of the FOI Act exemptions and EIR exceptions are provided on our disclosure log page.

Unhappy with how an FOI request has been handled?

If you are not satisfied with the way the FSA has handled your request for information, you should write within two calendar months of the date you received the response to the FSA Complaints Coordinator, c/o the Openness Team, and ask for an internal review. If your request is still refused after the internal review, you can complain to the Information Commissioner.


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