Food Standards Bill - continued        House of Lords

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Observations with a view to acquiring information
Power to carry out observations.     10. - (1) The Agency may, for the purpose of carrying out its function under section 8 or its corresponding function under section 9, carry out observations (or arrange with other persons for observations to be carried out on its behalf) with a view to obtaining information about-
 
 
    (a) any aspect of the production or supply of food or food sources; or
 
    (b) any aspect of the production, supply or use of animal feedingstuffs.
      (2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the information that may be sought through such observations includes information about-
 
 
    (a) food premises, food businesses or commercial operations being carried out with respect to food, food sources or contact materials;
 
    (b) agricultural premises, agricultural businesses or agricultural activities;
 
    (c) premises, businesses or operations involved in fish farming; or
 
    (d) premises, businesses or operations involved in the production, supply or use of animal feedingstuffs.
      (3) In this section-
 
 
    "agricultural activity" has the same meaning as in the Agriculture Act 1947 or, in Northern Ireland, the Agriculture Act (Northern Ireland) 1949;
 
    "agricultural business" has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Farm Land and Rural Development Act 1988 or, in Northern Ireland, Article 3 of the Farm Business (Northern Ireland) Order 1988;
 
    "agricultural premises" means any premises used for the purposes of an agricultural business; and
 
    "fish farming" means the breeding, rearing or keeping of fish or shellfish (which includes any kind of crustacean or mollusc).
Power of entry for persons carrying out observations.     11. - (1) The Agency may authorise any individual (whether a member of its staff or otherwise) to exercise the powers specified in subsection (4) for the purpose of carrying out any observations under section 10 specified in the authorisation.
 
      (2) No authorisation under this section shall be issued except in pursuance of a decision taken by the Agency itself or by a committee, sub-committee or member of the Agency acting on behalf of the Agency.
 
      (3) An authorisation under this section shall be in writing and may be given subject to any limitations or conditions specified in the authorisation.
 
      (4) An authorised person may, if it appears to him necessary to do so for the purpose of carrying out the observations specified in his authorisation-
 
 
    (a) enter any premises at any reasonable hour;
 
    (b) take samples of any articles or substances found on any premises;
 
    (c) take samples from any food source found on any premises;
 
    (d) inspect and copy any records found on any premises which relate to a business which is the subject of the observations (and, if they are kept in computerised form, require them to be made available in a legible form);
 
    (e) require any person carrying on such a business to provide him with such facilities, such records or information and such other assistance as he may reasonably request;
  but in this subsection "premises" does not include a private dwelling-house.
 
      (5) An authorised person shall on request-
 
 
    (a) produce his authorisation before exercising any powers under subsection (4); and
 
    (b) provide a document identifying any sample taken, or documents copied, under those powers.
      (6) The references in subsection (4)(d) and (e) to records include any records which-
 
 
    (a) relate to the health of any person who is or has been employed in the business concerned; and
 
    (b) were created for the purpose of assessing, or are kept for the purpose of recording, matters affecting his suitability for working in the production or supply of food or food sources (including any risks to public health which may arise if he comes into contact with any food or food source).
      (7) If an authorised person who enters any premises by virtue of this section discloses to any person any information obtained on the premises with regard to any trade secret he is, unless the disclosure is made in the performance of his duty, guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
 
      (8) A person who-
 
 
    (a) intentionally obstructs a person exercising powers under subsection (4)(a), (b) or (d);
 
    (b) fails without reasonable excuse to comply with any requirement imposed under subsection (4)(e); or
 
    (c) in purported compliance with such a requirement furnishes information which he knows to be false or misleading in any material particular or recklessly furnishes information which is false or misleading in any material particular;
  is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
 
      (9) In this section "authorised person" means a person authorised under this section.
 
 
Monitoring of enforcement action
Monitoring of enforcement action.     12. - (1) The Agency has the function of monitoring the performance of enforcement authorities in enforcing relevant legislation.
 
      (2) That function includes, in particular, setting standards of performance (whether for enforcement authorities generally or for particular authorities) in relation to the enforcement of any relevant legislation.
 
      (3) The Agency shall include in each annual report under section 4 a report on its performance during the year in enforcing any relevant legislation for which it is the enforcement authority.
 
      (4) The Agency may make a report to any other enforcement authority on their performance in enforcing any relevant legislation; and such a report may include guidance as to action which the Agency considers would improve that performance.
 
      (5) The Agency may direct an authority to which such a report has been made-
 
 
    (a) to arrange for the publication in such manner as may be specified in the direction of, or of specified information relating to, the report; and
 
    (b) within such period as may be so specified to notify the Agency of what action they have taken or propose to take in response to the report.
Power to request information relating to enforcement action.     13. - (1) For the purpose of carrying out its function under section 12 in relation to any enforcement authority the Agency may require a person mentioned in subsection (2)-
 
 
    (a) to provide the Agency with any information which it has reasonable cause to believe that person is able to give, or
 
    (b) to make available to the Agency for inspection any records which it has reasonable cause to believe are held by that person or otherwise within his control (and, if they are kept in computerised form, to make them available in a legible form).
      (2) A requirement under subsection (1) may be imposed on-
 
 
    (a) the enforcement authority or any member, officer or employee of the authority, or
 
    (b) a person subject to any duty under relevant legislation (being a duty enforceable by an enforcement authority) or any officer or employee of such a person.
      (3) The Agency may copy any records made available to it in pursuance of a requirement under subsection (1)(b).
 
Power of entry for monitoring enforcement action.     14. - (1) The Agency may authorise any individual (whether a member of its staff or otherwise) to exercise the powers specified in subsection (4) for the purpose of carrying out its function under section 12 in relation to any enforcement authority.
 
      (2) No authorisation under this section shall be issued except in pursuance of a decision taken by the Agency itself or by a committee, sub-committee or member of the Agency acting on behalf of the Agency.
 
      (3) An authorisation under this section shall be in writing and may be given subject to any limitations or conditions specified in the authorisation.
 
      (4) An authorised person may-
 
 
    (a) enter any premises mentioned in subsection (5) at any reasonable hour in order to inspect the premises or anything which may be found on them;
 
    (b) take samples of any articles or substances found on such premises;
 
    (c) inspect and copy any records found on such premises (and, if they are kept in computerised form, require them to be made available in a legible form);
 
    (d) require any person present on such premises to provide him with such facilities, such records or information and such other assistance as he may reasonably request.
      (5) The premises which may be entered by an authorised person are-
 
 
    (a) any premises occupied by the enforcement authority;
 
    (b) any laboratory or similar premises at which work related to the enforcement of any relevant legislation has been carried out for the enforcement authority; and
 
    (c) any other premises (not being a private dwelling-house) which the authorised person has reasonable cause to believe are premises in respect of which the enforcement powers of the enforcement authority are (or have been) exercisable.
      (6) The power to enter premises conferred on an authorised person includes power to take with him any other person he may consider appropriate.
 
      (7) An authorised person shall on request-
 
 
    (a) produce his authorisation before exercising any powers under subsection (4); and
 
    (b) provide a document identifying any sample taken, or documents copied, under those powers.
      (8) If a person who enters any premises by virtue of this section discloses to any person any information obtained on the premises with regard to any trade secret he is, unless the disclosure is made in the performance of his duty, guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
 
      (9) Where-
 
 
    (a) the enforcement authority in relation to any provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990 (in this Act referred to as "the 1990 Act") or orders or regulations made under it is (by virtue of section 6(3) or (4) of that Act) a Minister of the Crown, the National Assembly for Wales, the Scottish Ministers or the Agency, or
 
    (b) the enforcement authority in relation to any provisions of the Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 (in this Act referred to as "the 1991 Order") or orders or regulations made under it is (by virtue of Article 26(1A), (1B), (2), (3) or (3A) of that Order) a Northern Ireland Department or the Agency,
  this section applies to that authority (in relation its performance in enforcing those provisions) with the omission of subsection (5)(a).
 
      (10) In this section "authorised person" means a person authorised under this section.
 
Meaning of "enforcement authority" and related expressions.     15. - (1) In sections 12 to 14 "relevant legislation" means-
 
 
    (a) the provisions of the 1990 Act and regulations or orders made under it;
 
    (b) the provisions of the 1991 Order and regulations or orders made under it; and
 
    (c) the provisions of Part IV of the Agriculture Act 1970 and regulations made under that Part of that Act, so far as relating to matters connected with animal feedingstuffs.
      (2) In those sections "enforcement authority" means-
 
 
    (a) in the case of provisions of the 1990 Act or regulations or orders made under it, the authority by whom they are to be enforced (including a Minister of the Crown, the National Assembly for Wales, the Scottish Ministers or the Agency itself if, by virtue of section 6(3) or (4) of the 1990 Act, that authority is the enforcement authority in relation to those provisions);
 
    (b) in the case of provisions of the 1991 Order and regulations or orders made under it, the authority by whom they are to be enforced (including a Northern Ireland Department or the Agency itself if, by virtue of the Order, it is the enforcement authority in relation to those provisions); and
 
    (c) in the case of provisions of Part IV of the Agriculture Act 1970 (or regulations made under it), an authority mentioned in section 67 of that Act;
  and "enforcement", in relation to relevant legislation, includes the execution of any provisions of that legislation.
 
      (3) Any reference in those sections (however expressed) to the performance of an enforcement authority in enforcing any relevant legislation includes a reference to the capacity of that authority to enforce it.
 
 
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Prepared 15 October 1999