This consultation seeks views and comments on draft guidance, which is intended to set out for local authorities the level and type of activity needed to achieve effective and consistent enforcement of imported food and feed.
Responses are requested by: 26 March 2004
Following the Government Report on the Organisation of Import Controls (see link below), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) was asked to secure a Step Change improvement in the co-ordination and delivery of local authority inspection of imported foodstuffs and animal products by 31 March 2004. To achieve the Step Change, the Agency is taking forward a range of initiatives, many aimed at providing more information to enforcement bodies.
The draft guidance is intended for use by port health officers, environmental health officers and food standards officers in local authorities and at ports in Great Britain. It does not cover Northern Ireland where significantly different statutory conditions apply. The guidance incorporates relevant standards from the national port benchmarking exercise and the Agency's Local Authority Resource Pack on Imported Food Control (available in the Enforcement section under Imports). The guidance has been developed with the help of a enforcement stakeholder working group.
Once finalised, the guidance will be considered as centrally issued guidance for the purpose of the Framework Agreement on Food Law Enforcement and, as such, should be followed by local authorities.
Given the need for more effective and consistent enforcement of imported food and feed controls, the FSA would encourage Local Authorities to start putting in place the arrangements detailed in the attached draft guidance. In particular those arrangements underpinned by clear legal requirements such as ensuring officers are appropriately authorised, and also reporting all seizures of illegal animal product imports to the ILAPS database.
The FSA would be grateful for comments and views on the guidance no later than
26 March 2004.