FSA Press Release (2002/0250), 7 October 2002
The Food Standards Agency is introducing focused audits to its ongoing local authority audit programme in England. The focused audits will begin in October, when food sampling comes under the spotlight.
The October to December programme will include 15 focused audits, which will look specifically at local authority activity in relation to food sampling. The first one takes place on 23 October. The decision to focus on food sampling was reached on the basis of information arising from the Agency's monitoring and audit activity, which has shown significant variations in the levels of, and approach to, local authority activity in this area.
Local authority enforcement officers take food samples as part of their food law enforcement activities. Samples are taken to verify compliance with various aspects of food law, to check on safety, quality and labelling of food. They might be taken as part of a national or regional survey, during the course of food premises inspections or during an investigation into a food complaint.
A summary report of the programme of focused audits will be published on the Agency's website. The report should inform future enforcement trends and Agency policy on local authority food sampling activity.
As part of this programme, the Agency's Local Authority Audit Branch will also be visiting three public analysts and the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) headquarters to consider local authority arrangements for analysis and examination of food samples.
The audit programme from January to March 2003 will include a series of focused
audits on local authority activity in relation to prosecutions and other types
of formal enforcement action. It is envisaged that further focused audits will
be carried out as part of the Agency's future audit programme for local authorities
The following notes are included: