How to appeal against a decision made by the FSA or make a complaint

Last updated:
21 January 2016
How your business can appeal against an FSA decision or make a complaint.

Enforcement decision in an approved meat premises

England and Wales

The FSA is responsible for carrying out official controls in approved meat premises (slaughterhouses, cutting premises, farmed and wild game facilities and co-located minced meat and meat products premises) in England and Wales.

If you are a meat food business operator and disagree with a decision of an FSA staff member, or contractor working on the FSA’s behalf, or you want to complain about the level of service provided by the FSA, in the first instance you should try to resolve your problem with the official concerned, or with the FSA’s Service Delivery Manager for your area.

If you have been unable to do this, you should contact the FSA’s Operations Business Support team, who will refer your complaint to the Area Head of Operational Delivery:

email: business.support@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk
tel: 01904 232177

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Veterinary Public Health Programme (DARD VPHP) is responsible for carrying out meat hygiene official controls on behalf of the FSA.  If you disagree with a decision made by a DARD VPHP official, in the first instance you should try to resolve the issue with the official concerned or your regional Divisional or Supervisory Veterinary Officer. Contact DARD by email: vphu.post@dardni.gov.uk, or by phone: 028 3889 1216.

Refusal of approval for a meat premises

If your meat premises are refused approval by the FSA, you have a right to appeal to a Magistrates Court in England and Wales, or a Court of Summary Jurisdiction in Northern Ireland, against the FSA’s decision under Regulation 12 of the Official Feed and Food Controls Regulations 2009 as amended.  Appeals must be lodged with the Court within one month.

General information about approval of meat plants can be found via the link below.

Immediately below are contact details for making a specific enquiry about meat premises approvals.

England and Wales enquiries

email: approvals@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Northern Ireland

email: NIApprovals@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Further information

Audit of an approved meat premises

The FSA carries out routine audits of approved meat establishments in England, Wales and Scotland.  If you disagree with the outcome of the audit of your premises by the FSA, you should contact the Veterinary Auditor who conducted the audit and try to resolve any issues informally.

Audit appeal

If you are unable to resolve any disagreement informally, you can submit an appeal using the following FSA two-stage appeal process.

Stage one

You should submit your appeal within 14 calendar days of receiving a copy of your audit report.  The appeal must be submitted on an audit appeal form. Evidence to support your claim that the Veterinary Auditor’s assessment is incorrect must also be provided.  Full details of how to appeal are provided in the letter that accompanies each audit report.

Your audit and the evidence you provide will be reviewed by an FSA Audit Veterinary Leader from outside the area where your premises is based.  You will be notified of the outcome of the audit review within 14 calendar days.

Stage two

Stage two of the audit appeal process is available only to food business operators who have appealed against two successive audits at stage one.

If a food business operator disagrees with the outcome of the second successive stage one review, they can appeal to an independent external investigating officer from outside the FSA. A fee of £250 is payable at the outset as a contribution to FSA costs, which is refunded if the review rules in the food business operator’s favour and the audit frequency is changed as a result.   You will be notified of the outcome of the review within 14 calendar days.

More information

Further information on audit appeals is available in the Manual for Official controls (see chapter 4, part 1, section 5).

You can also contact the FSA in York:

FBO Audit Team
tel: 01904 232070
email: FBOAudits@foodstandards.gov.uk

DARD audits in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, audits of meat premises are carried out by the DARD VPHU on behalf of the FSA.  Further information is available by emailing DARD VPHP at vphu.post@dardni.gov.uk or phoning: 028 3889 1216.

Statement of Resources in a meat premises

Statement of Resources appeal

If you are unable to reach agreement with FSA’s Service Delivery Manager on the level of resources and the number of chargeable hours required at your meat premises, you can ask for a review of your Statement of Resources.  A fee of £250 is payable at the outset as a contribution to the FSA’s costs and this will be refunded if the review at stage one or two finds in the food business’s favour.

Stage one

You should submit your request for a review within 21 calendar days of receiving your Statement of Resources.  Further information is provided with the letter accompanying your Statement of Resources.

The review will be conducted by the Head of Operational Delivery from another business area and an independent industry representative, who will make a recommendation to the FSA’s Chief Operating Officer for a decision.  You will be notified of the outcome of the review within four calendar weeks of receipt of the review request.

Stage two

If you disagree with the outcome of the stage one review, you can submit a further appeal to the FSA within one week of notification.  The appeal will be determined by an independent person nominated by the FSA within one calendar month of being submitted.

Further details about appealing against a Statement of Resources can be found via the link below or by contacting:

FSA’s Operations Business Support team
email: business.support@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk
tel: 01904 232177

Authorisation for the removal of SRM at a meat premises

Where the FSA has refused or removed your authorisation for the removal of specified risk material (SRM), you can appeal under regulation 10 of the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Regulations within 21 days of the date the notice is served.

Appeals should be made in writing to:

Head of Policy Food Group
Food Standards Agency
Aviation House
London WC2B 6NH

The FSA will respond to appeals within 20 working days of receipt.  If this is not possible, we will update you and explain why there has been a delay.

Further information on SRM removal authorisations can be found via the link below.

In Northern Ireland, DARD VPHU carries out SRM official controls in approved premises on behalf of the FSA.  Contact DARD VPHP by email: vphu.post@dardni.gov.uk, telephone: 028 3889 2316.

Further information

Meat establishment: hygiene improvement notice and remedial action notice

If your meat establishment has been issued with a statutory enforcement notice, such as a Hygiene Improvement Notice or a Remedial Action Notice, details of the rights of appeal to the Magistrate’s Court in England and Wales, or the Court of Summary Jurisdiction in Northern Ireland, are clearly set out on the reverse of all formal notices served at the time the action is taken.

Other complaints about FSA service at a meat premises

If your complaint does not fall under the categories above and you have not been able to resolve your complaint locally with your Service Delivery Manager or with the Area Head of Operational Delivery, you can submit a formal complaint to:

FSA Complaints Coordinator
Food Standards Agency
Aviation House
London WC2B 6NH
email: openness.team@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk
tel: 01904 232127

Complaints will be acknowledged within two days.  You will receive a response within 20 working days of receipt.  If this is not possible, we will update you and explain why there has been a delay.

Further information

Dairy: hygiene improvement notice and remedial action notice

If your milk production holding has been issued with a statutory enforcement notice, such as a Hygiene Improvement Notice or a Remedial Action Notice, details of the rights of appeal to the Magistrate’s Court in England and Wales, are clearly set out on the reverse of all formal notices served at the time the action is taken.

Any other issues should be raised with your Dairy Hygiene Inspector. You can contact Ray Ede (FSA Lead Dairy Hygiene Inspector) or Manuel Sarnago (Field Veterinary Leader). For further information, email dairyhygienedata@foodstandards.gov.uk

The FSA is responsible in England and Wales for carrying out hygiene inspections of milk production holdings.

Dairy hygiene inspection in Northern Ireland is carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Agri-food Inspection Branch.

Shellfish classification

If you disagree with the classification of your business’s shellfish harvesting area, you should contact the relevant office to discuss the classification decision and options regarding a review of the decision.

Northern Ireland

tel: 028 90417710
email: Executive.support@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

England

Jane Tait
Tel: 07917 070440

Catherine Miller
Tel: 020 7276 8454

email: shellfishharvesting@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Wales

John Hirst
tel: 02920 678940 (FSA Wales)
email: shellfish.wales@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

The FSA is responsible for the classification of shellfish harvesting areas. The classification is based on the results of the FSA’s official control microbiological monitoring programme.

Wine standards

The FSA is responsible for the enforcement of EU wine regulations in the UK, covering all premises and traders within the production and marketing chain, including wholesalers, warehouses and vineyards.  Retail premises come under the control of local authorities.

If you want to clarify or informally challenge a decision taken by an FSA Wine Standards Inspector, you should contact:

Graham Finch
Technical Lead for FSA Wine Standards
email: Graham.Finch@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk
tel: 01732 824661

To appeal against formal enforcement action, please contact the FSA Business support team by emailing Business.support@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk or writing to:

FSA Wine Standards (Appeals)
Business Support
Foss House
Kings Pool
Peasholme Green
York YO1 7PR

Further information

Decision made by local authority

Clear advice about how a food business can appeal against a local authority decision.

Further information

General complaints from food businesses

If you're a food business operator and you're unsure who to direct your complaint to, contact the FSA Complaints Coordinator.

FSA Complaints Coordinator

Food Standards Agency
Correspondence, Openness and Parliamentary Branch
2C Aviation House
125 Kingsway
London WC2B 6NH
tel: 01904 232127
email: openness.team@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk