The FSA review of powers of entry

Last updated:
25 February 2015
The FSA and local enforcement authorities have legal powers to enter defined premises such as businesses, vehicles or land for specific purposes related to the effective enforcement of food and feed legislation. As part of a wider review by the UK Government, the FSA reviewed these powers during 2014.

Food and feed law powers of entry

We have legislative responsibility for powers of entry relating to many aspects of food and feed law. These powers provide the legal basis for local authority officials, FSA officials or officials acting on behalf of the FSA to:

  • enter premises to uphold food and/or feed law
  • monitor and audit enforcement activities allowing entry to food/feed business premises, local authorities and laboratories
  • enter premises across the food chain for the purposes of obtaining and keeping under review, information about matters connected with food or feed safety

About the review

We carried out an England-wide review to consider each power of entry under the FSA's responsibility. Similar reviews have been carried out by all other Westminster UK government departments because of a requirement of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The reviews considered if these powers are still needed. This is because it is essential that powers of entry achieve the right balance between the need to enforce the law, ensure public protection and to provide sufficient safeguards and rights to the individual.

After our review, we consulted consumers, businesses and enforcement authorities on our proposals for change. The proposals and Impact Assessment we consulted on were supported by stakeholders. This included the proposal to repeal one power of entry regarding monitoring for dioxins. However, this is pending the European Commission’s preliminary discussions aimed at reviewing Commission Regulation (EU) No 225/2012 on fats and oils.

The remaining 15 powers of entry will be retained because removal would mean enforcement officers would be unable to ensure the effective enforcement and monitoring of food or feed safety legislation.

A warrant power is to be added to The Food Standards Act 1999, and safeguards to other legislation to bring FSA powers of entry up to the UK Government standard in five areas.

Code of practice on powers of entry

On 8 December 2014, the Home Secretary laid before Westminster Parliament a new code of practice on powers of entry. The code will come into force in April 2015.

The code is designed to provide greater consistency of approach across the powers and sets out considerations that apply before, during and after the exercise of powers to enter premises.

Updates on when amendments are made to the relevant legislation (England only) will be communicated as and when they occur.