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The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is responsible for the enforcement of all food legislation in Ireland. The FSAI carries out this enforcement function through Service Contracts with official agencies.

Section 48 of the FSAI Act, 1998 provides the legislative basis for this. These service contracts outline an agreed level and standard of food safety activity that the agencies perform as agents of the Authority. This section also makes it clear that an official agency carrying out functions under a service contract shall be acting on behalf of, and as an agent for, the FSAI (Section 48.2).

The Deaprtment of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM)........

FSAI Audit

The FSAI provides, through its audit activities, an independent evaluation on the effectiveness of the Irish official control system. Official control tasks are generally conducted in order to verify that food business operators carry out their activities (e.g. production, distribution, retail etc.) in compliance with the requirements of food law. FSAI audits do not replace the requirement for official agencies to implement their own internal audit programme, as required by official control legislation.

The FSAI takes into consideration the results of official agency internal audits when planning FSAI audits.

The FSAI develops its audit prpgrammes bi-annually in accordance with a published audit charter. This is to allow for the audit programme to be adjusted during the year should emerging issues of concern require an audit response.

An annual audit programme comprises of

  • Official control audits: These audits examine the effectiveness and appropriateness of official controls as implemented by official agencies in relation to food law, service contracts and MANCP requirements. Where necessary, corrective action plans are developed and implemented by the official agencies to address any issues arising from the audits. The implementation of these plans is monitored by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the plans are updated periodically on this webpage.
  • Targeted or focused audits: These audits examine the effectiveness and appropriateness of official controls and/or food business operators’ compliance with respect to a specific aspect of food law.
  • Health and Food Audits and Analysis Close-out Audits (Santé F): These audits examine and update the corrective actions taken to address findings from SANTÉ F missions. They also verify their closure and their current state of compliance.

Once an audit has been concluded, a report of the findings is published on the "Audit Reports" page of the FSAI website along with the relevant corrective action plan, where one has been developed.

Competent Authority Internal Audit

Official agencies in their role as competent authorities independently assess through internal audit whether their official control activities are meeting the objectives of Regulation 2017/625.

Implementation of the audit function is carried out using the guidance provided by the European Commission, the principles of ISO 9001:2015, ISO 19011:2018 and the mandatory requirements from Regulation (EC) No 2017/625. The implementation of the audit function will also utilise additional guidance developed by national experts coordinated by SANTE F.