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Food: Chemical Analysis

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance the Food Standards Agency has issued to local authorities on their budgetary provision for chemical analysis of food; and if he will make a statement. (285669)

Local authority food sampling responsibilities are set out in the statutory food law code of practice (separate parallel codes of practice exist for each of the four United Kingdom countries). Local authorities are required to put together a sampling programme that details their intended food sampling priorities, taking into account the number, type and risk rating of premises in their area and any national or local consumer issues that may influence sampling rates. Also important are any responsibilities under the originating or home authority principle.

Local authorities must ensure the resources necessary to carry out the food sampling programme are made available.

The Food Standards Agency board annually examine monitoring reports of local authorities activities including sampling annually, looking at both national trends and the position of individual authorities. Where an individual local authority reports figures which are not considered to be acceptable, further enquiries are made of that authority, and the agency will, if appropriate, use its powers formally to audit that authority's services.