Food surveillance system

Our food surveillance programmes help us to obtain data about safety, compositional standards, and authenticity of food and feed in Scotland.

Surveillance plays a key role in generating the evidence base that Food Standards Scotland relies on to verify the safety and standards of food and animal feed sold in Scotland, and to identify risks to our supply chains.

Our surveillance strategy was developed in 2016, and was based on a wider programme of work  developed by the Food Standards Agency in Scotland (FSAS) to address recommendations made three years prior by the Scottish Government’s expert advisory review of the lessons to be learned from the horsemeat incident.

At Food Standards Scotland, we have defined our approach to food surveillance as:

"the on-going systematic collection, collation, analysis and interpretation of accurate information about a defined food or feed with respect to food safety or food standards, closely integrated with timely dissemination of that information to those responsible for control and prevention measures."

The intelligence generated through this process underpins our responsibilities in relation to risk assessment, policy development and the delivery of food law; enabling us to fulfil our public health and consumer protection obligations and achieve our vision for a safe, healthy and sustainable food environment that benefits and protects the health and well-being of everyone in Scotland.

We take account of a wide range of sources of information to help us to identify risks and ensure our activities are targeted to the issues which are of particular interest to consumers and food businesses in Scotland. This includes our horizon scanning and food sampling programmes, both of which play a key role in generating the data and evidence needed to support our surveillance strategy.

In this section

Horizon scanning

A structured procedure enabling the detection of emerging future risks to the Scottish food chain.

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Food Crime and Investigation

Food crime can involve selling food or drink that has been tampered with, or using cheaper ingredients than the ones listed on the label.


Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee

The Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee (SFELC) co-ordinates food law enforcement, sampling and surveillance activities of Scottish local authorities.