Browsing by Subject "Official food control"

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  • Kettunen, Karoliina; Nevas, Mari; Lunden, Janne (2017)
    We surveyed Finnish local food control officials' opinions about the use and challenges of administrative enforcement measures. Responses to the questionnaire were received from a total of 129 food control officials, covering 72.6% of the 62 local food control units in Finland. In the opinion of 42.7% of the respondents, enforcement measures are not used often enough in their unit to ensure forod safety. Based on our results, large units have better practical tools such as templates for enforcement decisions and guidelines that facilitate the use of enforcement measures than small units, but uncertain practices and a lack of routine appear to impede the use of the measures in many units. Particular challenges highlighted by the officials were related to laboriousness and slowness of the administrative process and reasoning for using enforcement measures. Moreover, impairment of cooperation with the food business operator as a consequence of using enforcement measures was of concern for many officials. The officials assessed the expertise of the head of the unit more positively in the units in which enforcement measures were used than in the units in which enforcement measures were not used, and participation in trainings was the strongest explanatory factor for the use of enforcement measures among the inspectors. Our results indicate that development of operating procedures and provision of specific training on administrative procedure with a practical approach play a key role in strengthening officials' expertise and confidence in using enforcement measures. Moreover, merging the small units with the large ones may promote uniform practices and better capabilities to use enforcement measures in all units. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Kettunen, Karoliina; Pesonen, Susanna; Lunden, Janne; Nevas, Mari (2018)
    Consistency and risk-basis are core elements of effective enforcement of food safety legislation. In Finland, inspections of food retail premises have been conducted since 2013 based on new national guidelines for evaluation and grading. According to the guidelines, food control authorities should initiate an administrative enforcement process to ensure compliance if the food business operator (FBO) is given the poorest grade in the inspection. In this study, we examined the consistency within and between local food control units on the threshold of initiating an enforcement process. The study was conducted through an analysis of inspection reports of FBOs and by an electronic survey and interviews of local food control officials. The results reveal that most officials consider the national evaluation guidelines as helpful in improving the consistency of using enforcement measures. However, inconsistencies exist between and within the local food control units in the alignments of initiating an enforcement process. Enforcement measures are mainly used on a risk-basis and gradually, as in most enforcement cases the FBO had multiple non-compliances and the FBO had been given a prior request to correct the non-compliance before initiating an enforcement process. The results, however, revealed rather weak compliance and repeated violations among some FBOs. Based on the observed persistence of non -compliances and the efficacy of enforcement measures in inducing compliance, a lower threshold of initiating an enforcement process towards FBOs with repeated violations appears beneficial in enhancing the correction of violations. Increasing the consistency of the enforcement process begins with unifying the practices within the local food control units by establishing clear procedures for enforcement and ensuring adequate orientation of personnel. Further strengthening of cooperation, peer-review and discussion on interpretations of required control actions between the units is needed for nationally consistent implementation of the evaluation and disclosure system and use of enforcement measures. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.