Food Law News - UK - 2001

FSA Wales Press Release (WA11/01KC), 17 July 2001

ENFORCEMENT - Local Authority Audited to Raise Food Safety Standards

The Food Standards Agency Wales has completed an audit of Cardiff County Council's food law enforcement activities. The audit, which is the first in a three- year rolling programme for the whole of Wales, will allow the Agency to compare the authority's performance against a UK-wide standard introduced in April this year.

The new Framework Agreement was introduced after consultation and agreement with consumer groups, local authorities and the Local Government Association and came into force in April this year. Designed to provide protection for everyone, and covering every type of food and all producers and retailers, the Agreement requires local authorities to work to a common benchmark in the local enforcement of food hygiene, food standards and feedstuffs legislation. This is intended to lead to a more effective and consistent enforcement of national food law across the UK.

The findings of the Cardiff County Council audit are currently being assessed and once the report is complete, details of the authority's performance will be made public. The FSA will also draw together results from audits carried out across the UK and publish them in a 'state of the nation's food controls' report. The first of these reports - to be published annually - will be available in July 2002.

Joy Whinney, Director of FSA Wales said: "The Food Standards Agency has a key role in overseeing local authority enforcement activity. Local food law enforcers are the first line of defence for the public, ensuring the safety and standard of our food. It is our job in the Agency, in partnership with local authorities, to set a standard and these audit programmes will tell us if this is being met."

"The programme will help us to understand better how local authorities operate, enabling us to highlight and share best practice with other authorities. These audits will also allow the Agency to identify and address areas of concern and give us information on whether appropriate resources are being directed at this important function."

"The standards set a benchmark, and where we find that basic procedures are insufficient, we will draw up an action plan to remedy the problems and we will publish this along with the final report. However, we also recognise the need to be flexible where innovation and variation is used by authorities to address local needs and priorities."

The following notes are included:

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