This investigation set out to see what risks might emerge from this perceived downturn in sampling. The aim of this study was to investigate how the balance has changed between routine sampling and surveillance conducted by UK Public Health Authorities (PHAs) and Local Authorities (LAs), to evaluate whether there is an increased possibility for incidents or emerging risks to go undetected at UK borders due to a decline in surveillance sampling.

PHAs are completing more samples of FNOAO due to the additional EC regulated official sampling requirements in 2010. As the expenses for the statutory sampling are cost recoverable from the importer, there are no funding issues. The volume of food samples analyses by inland LAs in the UK has fallen by about 33% since 2008/09 due to reductions in budgets and staffing levels, whilst also having to sustain the prescribed rates of premises inspections.

There are various options for improvement. The themes for these options are noted below, with those that the FSA could lead on noted as such:

More details can be found here.