According to a recently published report by the Swedish National Food Agency, there are deficiencies in Swedish food control. Many food companies do not get the control they pay for. At the same time, there is an increase in the number of food inspectors, which is a pre-condition for addressing the problem. The report addresses food control carried out by both the municipalities and the National Food Agency.
The number of food companies that did not get the control they pay for includes companies that should be subjected to regular checks due to complicated or otherwise sensitive activities. One possible explanation according to the report was the still relatively limited number of inspectors.
In line with Swedish food legislation, food control should be based on risk and financed by fees. This means that the agencies in charge of food control need to be self sufficient by generating the requisite amount of fees in order to be able to fulfill their control duties. According to the report, the hourly fee for inspectors varies extensively between the agencies. The lowest hourly rate is SEK 500 and the highest SEK 1252.
The report states that one cause for staff shortages is that the agencies do not charge sufficiently for the control services. The fees have, however, increased during the year.
The report is based on data from municipalities and the National Food Agency and was prepared in order to obtain information on how food control in Sweden is working. This is the first report in which all agencies have contributed to the reporting.
The National Food Agency is currently undertaking an extensive initiative for the purposes of developing food control at the various agencies. The initiative, inter alia, entails the development of training and education for the inspectors.
The report is available, in Swedish, on the website of the National Food Agency, www.slv.se
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