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FSA Concerned by Decline in Food Safety Inspections

January 21, 2016
Food

A report to be presented to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) board next week expresses growing concern at the sharp decline in food safety interventions. Focusing on the latest batch of enforcement data for 2014/15, the report notes that a number of authorities are struggling to carry out interventions at the required frequencies as set out in the food law code of practice against a background of increasing numbers of new businesses and consumer complaints.

UK business numbers have increased by 6.7% in the last five years to 627,425, while customer complaints have seen a 9.3% rise over the same period. Jenny Morris, CIEH principal policy officer, told Environmental Health News that in the current climate it is essential authorities develop new ways of working.

“We can demand the government provides more funds but we know what the answer will be,” she said. “So we have to collaborate across boundaries and identify new ways of working to ensure UK food safety standards remain high. This is likely to require a more complex approach than currently which will need to identify roles, responsibilities, checks, balances, incentives and consequences.”

Local authority resources have decreased steadily since 2010 with only 2,303 full time equivalent staff now employed in food law enforcement, a reduction of 17%. The report warns that with more cuts to come, the situation is likely to decline further in the coming years.

You can find more details about the next FSA Board Meeting HERE.