Food Law News - UK - 2001
FSA Press Release (2001/0145), 6 September 2001
ENFORCEMENT - FSA Publish Audit of Food Law Enforcement in Shrewsbury and Atcham
The Food Standards Agency today published an in-depth audit report on Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council's food law enforcement service. Overall, the Authority was found to generally comply with the prescribed national Standard, but key operational and procedural deficiencies were noted in some areas where improvements were required. An action plan has been agreed with the Authority which will address these shortcomings.
The Authority was selected for audit following statistical returns to the Agency which indicated that no local food sampling and examination work was being undertaken. The audit highlighted that Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council had resumed food sampling work from April this year.
David Statham, Director of Enforcement and Food Standards at the FSA said:
" The national Standard and the audit programme were introduced to raise the quality of local enforcement across the board and provide consumers with better protection at a local level. It is clear from this audit report that whilst many areas of the service complied with the Standard, there were a number of shortcomings in the enforcement service provided by Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council. Whilst these issues give rise to concern, it is encouraging to note that the Authority was already aware of most of the service shortcomings and had measures in place or planned to address these issues. We will continue to work with Shrewsbury and Atcham to secure these improvements in their service."
The audit of Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council's enforcement showed that they were strong in the following areas:
- thorough and competent investigative work into notified cases of food poisoning and appropriate follow-up action; and
- its commitment to staff training and development.
The audit found that improvement was needed in certain key areas. Action required includes:
- keeping more detailed records of assessments made by officers during inspections and details of the business itself which would help assess the most appropriate form of enforcement action to take;
- internal monitoring of the authority's food law enforcement activity. There was evidence of some limited quantitative performance monitoring, but improvements in this area will help ensure an effective and consistent approach to enforcement; and
- more detailed documentation on the authorisation procedure and documents confirming authorisations of its officers as deficiencies in this area can undermine legal action.
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