Worrying decline of food controls in Europe, new BEUC report reveals

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The number of food controls and the resources allocated to them are dwindling across Europe. This is the worrying trend that emerges from the report ‘Keeping food in check’, published today by BEUC, The European Consumer Organisation.

In order to verify that businesses comply with EU food safety and labelling laws, BEUC calls on governments to increase resources for controls and on the EU Commission to ensure that Member States’ reporting is complete, easy to access and comparable across countries.

All Member States are required by law to report on their inspection activities every year. BEUC analysed data on official food controls from 12 countries.2 Here are the main findings:

- With some rare exceptions, human and financial resources for food controls are
decreasing across the EU, as are the number of checks;

- Some control staff have flagged that they lack the necessary resources to carry
out their duties;

- Controls of the foods most likely to cause poisoning – such as eggs, milk and meat – are decreasing;

- Member States’ patchy reporting makes comparisons difficult, if not impossible;

- Member States give low to no priority to labelling checks;

- Few countries choose to publish the results of inspections of individual operators and to inform consumers about hygiene standards in restaurants and food shops. 



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