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Food Safety: Ports

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the duties of local authorities with regard to food cover airports and airfields within their jurisdiction; and, if so, why ports have separate health authorities as indicated in the Contaminants in Food (England) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/1464).[HL6976]

We have been advised by the Food Standards Agency that local authorities are responsible for enforcement of food safety legislation at airports and airfields and seaports within their jurisdiction under Section 6(2) of the Food Safety Act 1990.

Port health authorities (PHAs) are designated by the Department of Health for the purposes of administering a range of environmental health functions at docks and seaports. PHAs can comprise single local authorities or joint boards, covering more than one local authority. PHAs cannot be constituted at airports as airports do not fall within the definition of a port in the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.

The Food Safety Act 1990, at Section 5(3)(a), stipulates that where functions under the Act have been assigned by other legislation to a PHA, references in the Act to a food authority are to be read as references to a PHA. That division of responsibilities is preserved in regulations made under the Act (such as the Contaminants in Food (England) Regulations 2006).