Hampshire County Council scientists join laboratory partnership to help ensure food is safe to eat

Hampshire County Council’s Scientific Service has joined a new association of six local authority laboratories to better protect the public from food contamination and mislabelling.

Nov 24 2016

Food being analysed in Hampshire's Scientific Services laboratory
Hampshire Scientific Service is a unique public protection laboratory that uses science to help the County Council maximise the wellbeing of Hampshire residents. It provides the forensic science behind Trading Standards and Environmental Health that enables people and communities to stay protected in the areas of food, health, crime and the environment – identifying faulty, dangerous and misleading products. 

The Service has now teamed up with the five other public laboratories run by local authorities in England to work closer together as the Association of Local Authority Public Analyst Laboratories. These six - Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire Joint Services and Worcestershire - are all appointed as Official Food and Feed Control Laboratories by the Food Standards Agency.

Every day, their specialist teams test hundreds of food items, to check for undeclared allergens such as peanuts, contamination with dangerous substances like heavy metals or toxins, and mislabelling of food such as those highlighted in the horsemeat scandal.

Hampshire County Council’s Leader, Councillor Roy Perry, said: “Hampshire Scientific Service plays a vital role in protecting the public by ensuring the food we eat is safe. Because of our size and scale as a large, countywide Authority, the County Council is in a unique position to be able to provide this service not only to the people of Hampshire, but to many other local authorities throughout England. 

“Covering the same geographical area as Hampshire Constabulary has meant that for the last five years, the Service also shares a forensic service with the Police - in a move hailed by the Forensic Regulator and the Home Office as ‘ground-breaking’.

“This latest partnership arrangement to strengthen the service is very welcome indeed. Working together with five other local authorities will help to ensure the standard of food testing and analysis remains high, and that a strong, unified voice can lobby Government to ensure that funding for the laboratories is adequate – so that local communities can stay safe.”