Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - UK - 2017

Commission Health and Food Audit Reports, 12 June 2017

OFFICIAL CONTROLS / CONTAMINANTS – Publication of Commission Audit report on the UK controls on contaminants in foods.

The Commission has published its: ‘Final report of an audit carried out in the United Kingdom from 11 to 21 October 2016 in order to evaluate the controls on contaminants in food’.  Given below is the Executive Summary from the report.  For a complete copy, see  Also available are the following:

Executive Summary

This report describes the outcome of an audit in the United Kingdom carried out from 11 to 21 October 2016, as part of the published Directorate General for Health and Food Safety audit programme.

The objective of the audit was to verify that official controls in the area of contaminants in food are carried out in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council and in compliance with that Regulation and other relevant EU legislation, in particular the implementation of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 and related legislation with regard to nitrates, mycotoxins, heavy metals, industrial and environmental contaminants.

There is an adequate risk-based system of official controls as regards chemical contaminants in foodstuffs throughout the whole production chain. It allows for satisfactory planning and implementation of the controls, identifies non-compliances and enforces necessary and proportionate corrective actions. There is a sufficient network of official control laboratories.

Nonetheless, this system shows some weaknesses that can (a) result in incomplete assessment of food business operators' HACCP-based procedures, (b) call into question the reliability of official sampling and analysis, in particular in terms of representativeness of the samples taken, methods used for sample preparation, availability of replicate samples in the official control laboratories and interpretation of analytical results, and (c) delay undertaking of effective actions due to lengthy turnaround times by the official control laboratories.

The report contains recommendations to the competent authorities of the United Kingdom to address the shortcomings identified.

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