Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Continual reviews are necessary to ensure consumers of Irish food, both domestically and internationally, continue to be protected.
Food Safety Authority of Ireland Act, 1998 created a set of institutional arrangements for the administration of official food control inspections that are particular to Ireland. The law prescribed the responsibility for the enforcement of food legislation to the FSAI and to enforce the laws, the FSAI was required to enter into service contract agreements with those agencies previously involved in official food controls. The four main agencies contracted included: the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) veterinary inspectors and agriculture inspectors, the Health Service Executive (HSE) environmental health service, local authorities and the Sea-fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA).
Much has been achieved over the last 16 years to make the State’s system of food inspections fair, consistent and effective. However, this needs to be monitored and reviewed to ensure consumers of Irish food, both domestically and internationally, continue to be protected and that the system of official controls is monitoring and auditing food businesses effectively.
Thirteen recommendations were proposed which, if implemented across the FSAI and its official agencies, would facilitate improvements in the current system and make the official control inspections more effective. In particular, a new performance management system in which a set of key indicators are monitored at an agency level, will increase the transparency of how the system is performing and enhance accountability. This will result in an improved official control system for the continued protection of public health and public interest.