Food safety encompasses not only the prevention of gastro-intestinal illnesses caused by bacteria and viruses, but also the avoidance of harm from chemical contamination and the ingestion of unwanted physical contaminants such as glass or metal. Food poisoning can cause serious illness, and some types can lead to permanent disability or even death.
Control of food safety is managed by a series of interventions that apply to all food businesses from production to point of sale. The key government departments and agencies that regulate and advise on national food safety matters in the UK are the Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of Health. Much of the legislation governing food safety is set by the European Union. For further information on the legislation, please visit www.food.gov.uk
Monitoring and enforcement of food safety requirements is carried out at local level by a range of professionally qualified officers. The majority of these are environmental health practitioners (EHPs).
If you are a food business seeking advice on your food safety responsibilities, you can find basic information on Government’s GOV.UK website. More detailed information can be found on the FSA’s Business and Industry web pages. Alternatively, please contact your local council environmental health department. To find your local authority please visit the Directgov website.