Food Law News - UK - 2007

FSA News Item, 19 September 2007

ENFORCEMENT - Hillingdon Council to handle imported food controls at Heathrow

The Agency has helped produce a Memorandum of Understanding, allowing the London Borough of Hillingdon to undertake additional imported food controls at Heathrow Airport . Previously, responsibility was shared with four other local authorities.

Heathrow lies within the boundaries of the London Borough of Hillingdon and four local authorities: the London Borough of Hounslow, Slough Borough Council, Spelthorne Borough Council and Surrey County Council.

Single authority

By working with the authorities, the Agency helped formalise a single authority agreement by drawing up the Memorandum of Understanding allowing the London Borough of Hillingdon to undertake imported food controls on high-risk products of non-animal origin at transit sheds and remote transit sheds (RTS). This came into operation on 1 September 2007.

The other authorities are responsible for carrying out routine checks only on low-risk imports of products of non-animal origin in enhanced remote transit sheds (ERTS). The Agency will monitor the operation of this single authority and carry out a review in due course.

Why the change?

The move is designed to remove some of the existing complexities of using multiple enforcement authorities and improve public health controls in place for food safety. It follows an independent review of the administrative arrangement for imported food controls at Heathrow Airport .

Sarah Appleby, Head of the Agency's Imported Food Division, said, 'I am delighted that these Authorities have reached agreement on this matter and it will, no doubt, assist importers and ensure a uniform approach to enforcement.'

What is a Memorandum of Understanding?

A Memorandum of Understanding is a legal agreement between two or more parties, which, depending on the exact wording, lacks the binding power of a contract. It outlines an intended course of action.

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