A food incident is where concerns about actual or suspected threats to the safety or quality of food require intervention to protect consumers. Incidents fall broadly into two categories:
- Contamination of food or animal feed in processing, distribution, retail and catering, resulting in action to withdraw the food from sale or recall it from the public.
- Environmental pollution incidents such as fires, chemical/oil spills and radiation leaks, which may involve voluntary or statutory action (e.g. orders made under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985).
Preventing incidents is important for protecting consumers' interests, ensuring food standards and safety, and maintaining trust in the food chain. As part of its incident prevention strategy, FSS monitors food and feed safety patterns in Scotland and provides guidance and workshops to industry.
Businesses are legally required to inform their Local Authority/port health authority and the Food Standards Scotland if there is reason to believe that food or feed is not compliant with food or feed safety requirements. The authorities will advise you of any action you might need to take.
If businesses have reason to believe food is unsafe, it should immediately be withdrawn or, if necessary, recalled. If the products do not meet food standards requirements, such as labeling or quality issues, where there is no safety issue, then you might wish to ensure that products are withdrawn, rather than risk prosecution.
Download the food incident form.