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FSA Local Authority Letter (ENF/E/13/011), 28 March 2014
A copy of this letter, including the annexs mentioned below, is available on this site. See: FSA Letter - Milk
In April 2013 the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) carried out an audit of the controls related to safety of milk and dairy products in the UK, as part of its routine audit programme. Since the audit the FSA has been clarifying a number of issues raised in the FVO’s audit report and agreeing the action required. I am now able to provide you with feedback on this audit and summarise the agreed recommendations for information and, where relevant, action. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who were involved in facilitating the visits which took place for your time and support during the audit.
The FVO auditors visited four milk production holdings, 14 dairy processing establishments and two official laboratories throughout the UK. The auditors concluded that the UK has in place an adequate general framework for official controls and that the procedures in place for carrying out and documenting official controls are well established.
However, the auditors noted deficiencies in the implementation of controls in some instances and highlighted areas for concern where improvements are needed. The final report makes seven recommendations to the FSA as the Central Competent Authority which can be found in Annex 2. The FSA has provided a response to the FVO recommendations that sets out our proposed course of action, it can be found at the links below. http://ec.europa.eu/food/fvo/rep_details_en.cfm?rep_id=3140
Based on the FVO audit findings I would like to draw your attention to key issues that officers should bear in mind when carrying out official controls at dairy establishments.
FBO checks on raw milk quality, with particular regard to somatic cell counts and antibiotic residues
The FVO auditors raised serious concerns that FBO checks on raw milk quality are not always being carried out in accordance with the requirements in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 and furthermore that LAs are not always identifying deficiencies in the checks.
I would like to ask you to ensure that all milk purchasers are aware of their obligations under Regulation (EC) No 853/2004:
In order to effectively demonstrate compliance with these requirements LAs should expect FBOs to maintain evidence of the following:
You may find it useful to refer to the FSA guidance on the testing of milk for antibiotic residues. Although this is due to be further updated very shortly, the advice in this guidance will help LAs and FBOs to comply with the requirements in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 as regards the testing of milk for antibiotic residues:
A link to the FVO final report and recommendations and the FSA response to them can be found at the links below. The recommendations made in the final report are also attached in annex 1 to this letter. Further detail on areas of concern raised by the FVO which LAs need to note and action are in Annex 2.