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Food safety checks down by 25 per cent

01 February 2016

Food safety checks by local authorities have fallen by a quarter, despite growing concern following the horse meat scandal. 

A report by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) found that tighter budgets and understaffed teams meant that fewer inspections at food factories were being carried out. 

The FSA has called for more inspections since 2013, when foods advertised as containing beef were found to contain undeclared or improperly declared horse meat.

“The overall position is one of growing concern,” the FSA said in a report released last week. 

“At a local level there are a good number of authorities which are struggling to undertake interventions of food businesses at the required frequencies.”

The report added: “More generally, the number of food businesses and customer complaints continue to rise, while local authority staff resources, intervention and sampling levels continue to fall.”

The report found that the number of food samples taken fell from 92,122 samples in 2010/11 to 68,471 samples in 2014/15 – or 25.7 per cent. 

That is despite the number of food businesses increasing by 6.7 per cent in the same period (587,890 in 2010/11 to 627,425 in 2014/15).

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