Food Standards Scotland seeks views on proposals for Scottish Local Authorities Food Sampling Grant Programme for 2018/19

Priorities for microbiological examination


Tue, 10 Apr 2018


Food Standard Scotland

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has been providing funding to Scottish Local Authorities (LAs) to support addition sampling activities targeted at areas identified through analysis of trends in data obtained from LA and FSS funded programmes in previous years.

Information from local intelligence and horizon scanning, and in areas identified as either gaps in our evidence or data, is required to support future policy development.

Under this FSS funded programme, samples are collected by LA officers and submitted to the Public Analyst laboratories for microbiological examination, chemical analysis, and speciation testing. 

FSS is currently is in the process of developing a list of sampling and testing priorities for inclusion in our ‘Scottish Local Authority sampling grants programme’ for 2018/19. This year we have identified 15 areas on which we would like to focus in, the full list of priorities is provided below. 

We are consulting with our key stakeholders to seek views on the proposed priorities and ask for feedback on potential areas that we should consider for inclusion in the programme. Following the consultation process, we intend to finalise a targeted list of priorities  which will inform the specification for our 2018/19 food surveillance programme.

We are seeking responses to the proposals presented below and we will then refine the list based on the feedback received prior to agreeing a finalised sampling programme. Comments and feedback in relation to this should be send by end of 27 April to  Alex Edridge:

Priorities for microbiological examination

1. Campylobacter in raw, fresh meat from game birds at retail and/or catering. This data will help to identify risks in these meats and support risk assessment. 

2. Pathogens in raw, fresh pork meat, at retail and/or catering. This data will help to identify risks and support risk assessment.

3. Campylobacter and salmonella in breaded, raw, fresh, chicken goujons, breasts, fillets at retail. Issues in these kinds of products reported in Canada and the US. This data will help to identify risks in these products and support risk assessment. 

4. Microbiological quality of raw shell eggs and raw egg mixes at catering. More data is needed to inform risk assessment.

5. Microbiological risks in bagged salads at retail. These products have been implicated in outbreaks over recent years and continued surveillance of this area is required to understand the risk.

6. Microbiological quality of soft and semi-soft ripen  cheeses. This will provide data to support development of a targeted survey and information on safety advice provided to consumers.

Priorities for chemical analysis and labelling compliance

7. Acrylamide in take-away meals (fries and chips) and ethnic style breads. Issues in these kinds of products were identified in previous years. On-going monitoring to help evaluate effectiveness of mitigation measures applied by industry to meet benchmark levels.

8. Nitrate/nitrite in raw and cooked cured meats at retail (targeting smaller, independent businesses, e.g. butchers, rather than large retailers like supermarkets). On-going issue with regards to this kind of products. 

9. Marine biotoxins in imported bivalve molluscs (e.g. mussels, oysters, clams, scallops). This date will address existing gap in evidence base.

10. Heavy metals in imported fish, cephalopods, shrimps and bivalve molluscs - ensure testing includes cadmium in fish, cephalopods, shrimps and  especially mercury, lead in tuna and swordfish -  identified through horizon scanning.

11. Deoxynivalenol (DON) and its acetylated and modified forms in cereal and cereal-based products (oat, barley, wheat). This data will address existing gap in evidence base

12. Minced meat (beef, lamb, pork, poultry) composition standards. This data will help to assess compliance in relation to legal definition of ‘lean’ based on fat and also the ratio of meat protein to connective tissue.

13. Nutritional declarations on pre-packed foods with specific nutritional ‘reduced’ claims (e.g. fat-free, low-fat, low-sugar, sugar-free, low salt, energy-reduced, low-energy, etc.).This  data will help to assess compliance with relevant legal requirements.

14. Undeclared gluten-free sausages and burgers at butchers. Continued monitoring in an area where issues were identified

15. Undeclared lactose in dairy-free, milk free and lactose-free products at retail. Also capture labelling information. This data will address existing gap in evidence base.


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