The Public Analyst (PA) function at West Yorkshire Analytical Services (WYAS) will cease at the end of March. WYAS is the official control laboratory for five West Yorkshire local authorities, but from April, it will continue its food and beverage testing to private companies and local authorities on an informal basis. The closure of WYAS's PA function follows close on the heels of the closure of Staffordshire Scientific Services, and is a result in both cases of reduced local authority financial support. There are now only four PA laboratories left in England financed by local authorities - Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire and Worcestershire. The PA laboratories in Hull and Wolverhampton are run by the private company Public Analyst Scientific Services.
Overall it shows the Public Analyst service in England is losing its capability and capacity to enforce food standards legislation effectively. The APA (Association of Public Analysts) reported that the number of official control samples taken by local authorities fell by 26% from 92,122 samples in 2010/11 to 68,471 in 2014/15. The service needs more government support to continue effectively.
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