The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published new official statistics on food law enforcement by local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the year ending March 2019.
The information, provided by local authorities and compiled by the FSA, gives a detailed breakdown of enforcement activities carried out across the three countries.
The data indicates that the percentage of food establishments which are ‘broadly compliant’ with food hygiene law increased slightly to 90.7% from 90.2% in the previous year. The percentage of planned food hygiene interventions undertaken by local authorities increased to 86.3% in total compared with 85.1% in 2017/18.
Tor food standards controls, which covers authenticity and food fraud, the percentage of planned interventions undertaken decreased to 40.8% in total from 42.3% the previous year
There was a marginal increase in staffing levels in professional posts of 0.6% compared with the previous year
For food hygiene, the picture overall in the three countries does differ somewhat – some small but positive trends seen in England were not reflected in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Maria Jennings, Director of Regulatory Compliance at the FSA, said: “Local authorities are there to ensure that food businesses produce food that is safe and what it says it is. One of the FSA’s roles is to have oversight and assurance about their performance.
“It is good to see an increase in the total percentage of planned hygiene interventions that local authorities are carrying out and an increase in premises with standards equivalent to a food hygiene rating of 3, 4 and 5.
“It remains concerning that there has been another decrease this year in the percentage of planned food standards interventions undertaken. To address this long standing issue, we are working closely with local authorities to develop a new sustainable model for food standards interventions which will include a mix of inspections and the use of better intelligence and surveillance.
“Analysis of the data in this report will be used with a range of other information to assess performance of all local authorities and to gives us a picture of local activities aimed at protecting consumers and maintaining confidence in the food chain.”