The Northern Ireland Strategic Committee on Food Surveillance has published its fourth report on food sampling activity in Northern Ireland. Similar to 2009, the results of sampling in 2010 indicate that there have been relatively few detections of foodborne pathogens. However, almost a third of samples taken were reported to be of microbiologically unsatisfactory quality, indicating a potential failure in hygiene practices and likely to require investigation by district councils.
The report, which can be found here, uses data from the UKFSS database to provide a broad overview of the microbiological and chemical analysis of food samples. The report gives a comprehensive insight into food sampling activities by district councils within Northern Ireland. It is anticipated that future Northern Ireland data from the UKFSS database will allow more focused study and reporting of trends in certain food groups and premises.
Food surveillance is an important public health measure. The information contained in the report should reassure the public that the necessary surveillance mechanisms are in place to identify and respond to unsatisfactory sample results. As with the committee’s previous reports, the fourth 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.