A Food Surveillance Strategy For Scotland

Closed 11 Aug 2017

Opened 22 May 2017


Food Standards Scotland's (FSS's) Strategy to 2021 sets out a vision for a food and drink environment in Scotland that benefits, protects and is trusted by consumers.  Ensuring the safety and authenticity of the Scottish food chain is key to delivering this vision.  Outcome 1 (Food is Safe) and Outcome 2 (Food is Authentic) of the FSS strategic plan describe the importance of effective food surveillance systems in enabling the identification of risks to food and feed.  Surveillance plays a key role in generating the intelligence and insight needed to assess how interventions affect the safety and authenticity of foods placed on the market, and their wider impacts on consumers and the industry.

The development of a world-recognised food surveillance system is a long-term ambition for FSS, reliant on the achievement of a number of challenging inter-dependent objectives:

  • Development of an effective horizon scanning framework within FSS with the capability to interpret data and evidence from a diverse range of sources (scientific, economic, investigative) to identify trends and emerging risks, and ensure surveillance activities are effectively targeted;
  • Promotion of resilient, co-ordinated and integrated laboratory provision for food and feed testing in Scotland;
  • Establishment of trusting and productive relationships with partners across Government, the public sector and the food industry, which promote the sharing of data and intelligence;
  • Development of new data management systems which provide secure platforms for recording and sharing intelligence;
  • Development of data standards that will facilitate the sharing and/or comparison between data held by FSS and that held externally;
  • Establishment of robust analytical capability within FSS which is capable of translating data and information into robust and usable intelligence.

The draft Food Surveillance Strategy, approved by the FSS board in March 2017, considers why food surveillance is needed and the rationale for our proposed approach, what information needs to be collected, how that information should be generated and analysed, and who we need to work with to ensure intelligence is shared effectively and appropriate action is taken.  It also considers timelines relating to when the strategy will need to deliver tangible outputs in order to be effective.  These considerations have been used to develop a framework for a new food surveillance model, described in Annexe A.

Why your views matter

This consultation is intended to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on our proposed strategic approach for surveillance of food in Scotland.  FSS is seeking input from stakeholders regarding their own experiences of developing surveillance programmes, and views on how this should be undertaken.  FSS is particularly interested in learning from the experience of others on developing structured approaches to horizon scanning and how FSS can work more effectively with others to identify and prioritise risks to the food chain.

The consultation also aims to collate stakeholder opinions on a number of areas related to surveillance activity including data sharing practises and stakeholder engagement.  FSS is developing a programme of work to underpin the Surveillance Strategy which will explore these issues in more detail, however, stakeholder opinion is sought at this stage to ensure it is adequately scoped.


  • Scientist
  • Researcher
  • Academic
  • University
  • Local Authority
  • Public analyst laboratory
  • Public health professional
  • Government department


  • food surveillance