Local authority food law enforcement 2016/17


While UK local authorities continued to target their food law enforcement activities successfully in 2016/17 at businesses where food safety risks are highest or food fraud is most likely, official statistics reveal that they failed to meet the target for ‘intervention’ visits to ensure food hygiene and standards laws are being met. 

The Food Standards Agency’s annual report based on returns to the Local Authority Enforcement Monitoring System (LAEMS) records a decrease between April 2016 and 30 March 2017 in the number of planned interventions for food standards – which covers areas such as authenticity and food fraud.

While food hygiene interventions covering food safety increased slightly compared with the previous year, the FSA noted ‘with concern’ that there was still a 15% shortfall.

Perhaps even more concerning in the long term, the total number of full time equivalent professional staff employed by the local authorities decreased by 2.7% to 2105 in 2016/17, compared with the previous year.

A 23% increase in consumer complaints across the UK from 69,031 in 2015/16 to 85,220 in 2016/17 also catches the eye – although the FSA suggests it may have been due to a new service on its website informing consumers they can complain about a food business to its local authority.

‘Enforcement Data 2016/17’ links to the annual report (1 April 2016 – 31 March 2017), an infographic illustrating demands and resources, and separate sets of enforcement statistics for food hygiene, food standards and sampling data in the UK during 2016/17.

The FSA will use the enforcement data, together with other intelligence, to identify underperforming authorities so they can work with them to secure improvements or tackle specific problems.

click here to see how the FSA are looking at news ways of gaining assurance about food businesses that are not wholly restricted to the work of LA inspections.


See our latest news here!