Food Law News - UK - 1998
23 April 1998: ADMINISTRATION - Public Analysts' Testing of Food Samples to be Reviewed
MAFF Press Release (160/98), 23 April 1998
Public Analysts' Testing of Food Samples to be Reviewed
The scientific services used by local authorities to test samples of foods for sale are to be reviewed, Food Safety Minister Jeff Rooker announced today.
Public Analysts are used by local authorities to test the safety and authenticity of food samples in order to enforce food law. The independent review team will be expected to make recommendations on how to improve arrangements for providing scientific and technical services to support the work of local food law enforcement authorities. The six-member review team will be led by Chairman Alan Turner, OBE.
Mr Rooker said:
"Testing food samples is an essential part of food law enforcement work. Public Analysts provide the scientific support needed by local authority Trading Standards Departments. We need to ensure the way this important work is carried out fully reflects current and future needs. Local authorities have a crucial role in enforcing laws governing the sale of food. It is their vigilance that protects consumers. The ability to check the quality and authenticity of food samples quickly and efficiently will help them carry out that work."
The Government gave a commitment to carry out a review of Public Analyst arrangements in the White Paper on the Food Standards Agency published on 14 January 1998. The Review Group will be expected to complete the work well before the end of the year. They have been asked to submit preliminary advice on the need for any legislative changes by the end of June 1998.
All interested parties are invited to submit evidence to the Review Group. This should be sent to the PA Review Group Secretariat, MAFF, Room 314 Ergon House, 17 Smith Square London SW1P 3JR by 2 June 1998.
The members of the Review Group are:
Mr Alan Turner, OBE (Chairman), Professor Edward Abel, Councillor Neil Bonnar, JP, Mrs Dorothy Craig, Dr Tom Gorsuch, OBE, Dr Catherine Humphries, Mrs Valerie Saint
The Review Group's terms of reference are:
"To review Public Analyst arrangements in England and Wales and to make recommendations on how best to provide the scientific and technical support needed by food authorities in respect of their food law enforcement responsibilities, taking account of the concerns of other interested parties, arrangements in other parts of the UK and EU considerations.
In particular, the review will consider:
- The effectiveness (including cost effectiveness) of the present arrangements and the best means of providing food authorities with analytical and technical services in relation to the chemical aspects of food legislation.
- The needs of food authorities in relation to the establishment of relevant sampling, surveillance and monitoring programmes; the interpretation of the results of food analysis; and provision of expert evidence in Court.
- Arrangements for the appointment and qualification of Public Analysts, taking account of the requirements of Council Directive 93/99/EEC on additional measures concerning the official control of foodstuffs.
- The need for any changes in current national legislation.
- The extent to which these issues are relevant to laboratories' role as agricultural analysts under Part IV of the Agriculture Act 1970.
- The role of the designated Referee Analyst, and any other directly relevant matters.
Additional notes are provided as follows:
- The Government gave an undertaking in the White Paper "The Food Standards Agency - A Force for Change" published on 14 January 1998 (Cm 3830) that there would be a review of the Public Analyst arrangements in England and Wales, in line with the recommendations in Professor Philip James' report on a Food Standards Agency.
- Interested organisations are being invited to submit evidence by 2 June 1998. Any members of the public wishing to comment should send their comments to the PA Review Group Secretariat, MAFF, Room 314 Ergon House, 17 Smith Square London SW1P 3JR by the same date.
- Qualified Public Analysts are appointed by local authorities to carry out tests on the safety and authenticity of food samples collected by enforcement officers. Some public analysts work as independent consultants, others are employed directly by local authorities.
To go to current UK Food Law News page, click here.
To go to main Food Law Index page, click here.