Northern Ireland's ninth food surveillance sampling report published

Last updated:
2 August 2017
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The Northern Ireland Strategic Committee on Food Surveillance has published its ninth report on food sampling activity in Northern Ireland in 2015.

The report covers the targeted, risk-based, sampling and testing of food carried out by local councils in Northern Ireland across the food supply and retail chain.

Overall, a high percentage of the wide range of foodstuffs sampled were found to comply with food safety and standards legislation. The main issues continue to be in relation to incorrect labelling and description of food.

Similar to 2014, the results of sampling in 2015 indicate that there have been relatively few detections of foodborne pathogens. In 2015, 6,110 samples were submitted for microbiological examination and 2039 samples were submitted for chemical analysis.

Key findings of the report were:

  • In total, 57% of microbiological samples and 56% of chemical samples were satisfactory.
  • Only a small number of the samples, which did not meet microbiological standards, were found to contain pathogens that could present a risk to health.
  • The majority of samples that failed chemical analysis were due to labelling issues, rather than the presence of harmful substances.

As with the Committee's previous reports, the ninth report contains a number of recommendations to further improve food safety compliance and gives an indication of the issues the Committee might explore in future work.