FSA News Item, 7 October 2011
A copy of the report is available on this site. See Food Sampling by Scottish Local Authorities - 2010 Summary Report
The majority of foods sampled for microbiological and chemical analysis by Scottish local authorities in 2010 were satisfactory, according to a report of data held on the UK Food Surveillance System (UKFSS). The results also identified where improvements could be made in relation to food handling practices in retail and catering businesses.
During 2010, results relating to more than 10,000 foods sampled from Scottish businesses were submitted to the UKFSS, the Food Standards Agency’s national food sampling database. A Research Working Group set up by The Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee analysed the data to identify issues relating to food safety, labelling and composition.
Approximately 5,800 samples were subjected to microbiological examination (assessment of compliance with EU microcriteria regulation or Health Protection Agency guidelines) and 4,600 to chemical analyses, including tests for contaminants, additives and labelling inaccuracies.
While the majority of samples were satisfactory, most of those that did not meet microbiological standards failed because of elevated levels of hygiene indicators (bacteria that can be used as indicators of general hygiene practises in food premises) and total bacterial counts (total number of bacteria on a food sample). These are not usually considered a risk to health, but may indicate poor food preparation and handling practice. Most of the samples that failed chemical analysis did so due to labelling issues, rather than the presence of harmful substances or the misuse of food additives.
The report highlights how UKFSS data has been used to inform measures currently in place for food monitoring across Scotland, and will be used to inform local authorities’ future food sampling programmes, research and surveillance activities.