FSA News Item, 27 September 2010
In September 2010, the Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee's (SFELC) Research Working Group published an annual report providing an overview of food sampling data collected during 2009 by Scottish Local Authorities (LAs), and placed on the Food Standards Agency’s central database, the UK Food Surveillance System (UK FSS).
The UK FSS has been used routinely by 29 Scottish LAs since 2005, and has provided the Agency and the enforcement community with a valuable repository of information on food safety and standards. The database has been fully operational in Northern Ireland since 2007, and is currently being rolled out to LAs in England and Wales.
This is the third annual publication by SFELC’s Research Working Group reporting on sampling activities undertaken by Scottish LAs. The Northern Ireland Strategic Committee on Food Surveillance has also produced similar reports on food sampling carried out in 2007 and 2008 by district councils in Northern Ireland.
During 2009, results relating to more than 13,400 samples were submitted to the UK FSS. These comprised approximately 7,500 samples that were subjected to microbiological examination and 5,900 to chemical analyses. Similar to previous years’ data, the majority of microbiological failures were due to the presence of elevated levels of hygiene indicators and aerobic colony counts. These would not usually be considered a risk to health but may be indicative of poor food preparation and handling practice. Chemical failures were largely attributed to labelling issues, rather than being due to the presence of harmful substances.
The submission of sampling data to UK FSS has allowed the Scottish dataset to be analysed for trends and emerging issues to inform LAs' future food sampling programmes and research and surveillance activities. The report indicates that the vast majority of food samples taken by Scottish LAs during 2009 were satisfactory, and highlights some of the measures currently in place for the monitoring of foods across Scotland.
For a copy of the report on this site, see: Scottish Food Sampling Report 2009