National co-ordinated food sampling programme

The Food Standards Agency has been working with UK local authorities since 2003 to support Enforcement Authority risk-based sampling and surveillance of food sold in the UK, whether it is imported or produced in the EU or UK.

The work aims to inform policy makers and to provide better information to assist in future sampling programmes as well as determining levels of compliance around areas of concern within the UK food chain.

Sampling priorities for this programme are developed in consultation with a wide range of organisations (including DEFRA, Department of Health, Public Health England, the Association of Public Analysts and Local Authorities).

The programme adds value to local authorities that already carry out effective, routine sampling as part of their sampling policy. The funding available provided by this programme covers the costs of sample collection and analysis, and represents additional work over and above local authorities’ existing work programme. Any non-compliances highlighted by the sampling results are followed up by the relevant local authority and appropriate enforcement action taken.