The recovery of local authorities, a Salmonella outbreak, food crime cases and prosecution were among the topics discussed at the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) latest board meeting.
Emily Miles, chief executive of the FSA, gave an update on the local authorities’ recovery plan for the UK, which covers the period from July 2021 to March 2023, following a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councils have received many new registrations and are concerned about the number of ongoing inspections. Many report food business compliance has deteriorated since reopening, leading to more complaints, longer inspection visits and tougher enforcement, Miles said in a report to the council.
Of 112 local authorities concerned about not meeting the plan’s minimum expectations in October 2021, the FSA contacted 91 of them, with 61 saying they are now on track and the other 30 cases ongoing. The other 21 are in the process of being contacted.
The October survey rated 5% high concern about not being able to meet plan targets and 18% medium concern.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the number of businesses inspected has increased. There has been a drop in the number of outlets awaiting inspection as businesses were rated or found not to be trading.
A trial is underway using video streaming technology and software to allow officials to do audits remotely. The FSA said early signs are encouraging, with a document detailing the findings expected for a later board meeting.
Miles also provided an update on an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis linked to handling frozen rodents imported from Lithuania.
More than 400 children under the age of 9 have been affected. In total, there have been 921 cases since 2014. Monkfield Nutrition suspended the import of Lithuanian mice in December 2021 and the products were withdrawn and recalled the same month.
The European Commission responded in early January 2022 to a letter from the FSA and the Chief Veterinarian asking for action to tackle contamination at source, but Miles said it offered limited assurance that the issue would be addressed by the Commission. or the Lithuanian authorities.
Efforts led by Defra, together with the FSA and Food Standards Scotland, along with other government departments, took further action and in mid-February the import of rodents from Lithuania was banned until the Kingdom Kingdom is confident that the contamination is being managed at source by the Lithuanian authorities.
Food Fraud and Lawsuits
A public consultation on the additional investigative powers of the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) is due to open shortly. The agency was leading or supporting 36 operations at the end of the third quarter.
In case terms, Operation Endeavor is a new investigation between the NFCU and the FSA that found several tons of unfit meat after an unannounced inspection at a food business.
In addition, a Home Office consultation on the classification of 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) as a poison recently closed. DNP is sold as a diet pill, but has been linked to more than 30 deaths in the UK since 2007.
The report also covered three convictions under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
Arsalaan Qasid was found guilty of obstructing an official vet at Medina Pure Halal UK in November 2019 following a trial at Dudley Magistrates Court in December 2021. Qasid was fined £1,500 (2 $000) and prosecution costs of more than £7,500 ($9,800). ).
T Smith and Sons pleaded guilty to putting unsafe food on the market at a hearing at Leicester Magistrates Court in November 2021. Prosecutions were brought after the company continued to sell raw cow’s milk to the public despite tests showing that it did not meet the required microbiological limits. . The company was fined nearly £14,700 ($19,300) and ordered to pay costs of more than £3,000 ($3,900) at sentencing in January 2022.
Finally, GST, the operator of a licensed poultry slaughterhouse, pleaded guilty to two offenses and was sentenced in January 2022. On two occasions, documents were presented to the official veterinarian which did not correspond to the turkeys slaughtered that day -the. The company was fined £10,000 ($13,100) and ordered to pay costs in excess of £17,250 ($22,600).
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