Food incidents: advice for local authorities

A food incident is an event where, based on the information available, there are concerns about actual or suspected threats to the safety or quality of food and/or feed that could require intervention to protect consumers' interests.

Businesses are legally required to inform their local authority/port health authority and the FSA if there is reason to believe that food or feed is not compliant with food or feed safety requirements. The FSA maintains an official audit trail during the investigation of a food incident. It also arranges the issue of food alerts to local authorities, other government departments, trade organisations, and Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) notifications to the European Commission.

Report a food incident

Report an incident online

FSA headquarters (England)

tel: 020 7276 8448 (out of hours: 0345 051 8486) fax: 020 7276 8788

FSA Wales

tel: 029 2067 8999 (out of hours: 07789 926573)

FSA in Northern Ireland

tel: 028 9041 7700

Food Standards Scotland

tel: 01224 285 138 and 01224 285 196 (out of hours: 07881 516 867)

RASFF notifications

The European Commission's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) allows authorities to exchange information about measures taken when responding to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed. This exchange of information helps European Member States to act more rapidly and in a coordinated way in response to a health threat caused by food or feed.

Border Inspection Posts and Port Health Authorities should use the online interactive iRASFF tool to complete either an original notification form or a follow-up notification form – used to transmit information on measures taken and outcome of investigations. When a decision has been made for a consignment to be returned to its country of origin, this information should in either be notified in the original or follow up notification depending on the information available at the time.

Those officers who do not have access to iRASFF should use the RASFF forms below.

Single Liaison Body notifications

Food authorities should provide information about trans-border food issues to the FSA under the Administrative Assistance Co-operation (AAC) system using the form below (Exchange of Information: Routine Matters). The role of the AAC is to:

  • assist and coordinate communication between member states on food issues
  • forward complaints and requests for information to member states
  • receive incoming requests for assistance and direct these to the appropriate originating local or port health authority
  • resolve difficulties in communication and liaison.