The new data shows that across the three countries:
- the percentage of food establishments that are ‘broadly compliant’ with food hygiene law – this means their standards are equivalent to a food hygiene rating of 3, 4 or 5 - increased slightly to 90.7% from 90.2% in the previous year
- the percentage of planned food hygiene interventions undertaken by local authorities increased to 86.3% in total compared with 85.1% in 2017/18
- for food standards controls, which covers authenticity and food fraud, the percentage of planned interventions undertaken decreased to 40.8% in total from 42.3% the previous year
- the percentage of food establishments not yet risk rated fell to 4.8% compared with 5.1% the previous year
- the total number of reported official samples taken was 43,768, a decrease of 3.2% from the previous year
- there was a marginal increase in staffing levels in professional posts of 0.6% compared with the previous year
- for food hygiene, the picture overall in the three countries does differ somewhat –some small but positive trends seen in England were not reflected in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Maria Jennings, Director of Regulatory Compliance at the FSA, said:
'Local authorities are there to ensure that food businesses produce food that is safe and what it says it is. One of the FSA’s roles is to have oversight and assurance about their performance.
'It is good to see an increase in the total percentage of planned hygiene interventions that local authorities are carrying out and an increase in premises with standards equivalent to a food hygiene rating of 3, 4 and 5. It remains concerning that there has been another decrease this year in the percentage of planned food standards interventions undertaken. To address this long standing issue, we are working closely with local authorities to develop a new sustainable model for food standards interventions which will include a mix of inspections and the use of better intelligence and surveillance.
'Analysis of the data in this report will be used with a range of other information to assess performance of all local authorities to give us a picture of local activities aimed at protecting consumers and maintaining confidence in the food chain.'
Report and data
The Framework Agreement on the Delivery of Official Feed and Food Controls by local authorities sets out the arrangements we have in place for monitoring local authority performance.
Data are collected electronically using a web-based system - the Local Authority Enforcement Monitoring System (LAEMS) - on an annual basis. The data collected covers food hygiene and food standards. It includes numbers of registered businesses and a range of local authority activities such as numbers of interventions, sampling and enforcement actions.
The data and a summary report are published annually as official statistics and are available on our website.
The FSA Board will be discussing Local Authority performance at their meeting on 18 Sept. For more information and to register to attend visit 'Our Board' page.