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Investigation of the Overall Effectiveness of Food Sampling and Surveillance in the UK by Local and Port Health Authorities

Institutions
Greenstreet Berman, Ltd
Start date
2013
End date
2014
Objective

This work evaluated whether there is an increased possibility for incidents and emerging risks to go undetected at UK borders due to a decline in surveillance sampling, by investigating the following four research questions:

  1. What are the trends in food sampling?
    This involved interviews with stakeholders about trends, asking LAs and PHAs to report trends, and analysis of Local Authority Enforcement Monitoring System (LAEMS) and UK Food Surveillance system (UKFSS) data held by the FSA on the number of sample analyses per year..
  2. What are the reasons for these trends?
    This entailed exploratory interviews with LAs, PHAs and stakeholder representatives, and a survey of LAs and PHAs about the cause of trends and local sampling policy. The analysis of LAEMS data on food samples also revealed differences in sampling practices between types of LAs and countries that indicated some additional factors.
  3. What is the probability of detecting unsatisfactory results?
    UKFSS data for 2012 was assessed to determine the statistical probability of detecting unsatisfactory results per category of products and type of analyses.
  4. What potential improvements could be made?
    Suggestions for potential improvements were drawn from stakeholder feedback, research findings and consideration of parallel FSA studies into risk-based sampling.
More information

Background: Food sampling forms an integral part of local authority food law enforcement and it can provide useful information to help effective enforcement of food law and contribute to improved food safety and standards.

However, the FSA’s evidence requirement stated a ’perceived downturn in the number of routine surveillance samples that are taken at UK points of entry and inland. This investigation set out to see what risks might emerge from this perceived downturn in sampling.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project source
View this project
Project number
FS204006
Categories
Policy and Planning
Natural Toxins
Bacterial Pathogens
Legislation and Regulations