The Food Standards Agency is to sharpen controls on imported food at Heathrow.
An independent review on behalf of the FSA has recommended that a single local authority should take responsibility for all food safety checks on imported high-risk items such as meat and chilli powder.
Heathrow is situated in the London Borough of Hillingdon and, under the current system, four local authorities share responsibility for the controls - the London Borough of Hounslow, Slough Borough Council, Spelthorne Borough Council and Surrey County Council.
A spokesman for the FSA said: “It stands to reason that the involvement of lots of different parties can generate confusion.”
The London borough of Hillingdon is expected to be the primary candidate, with the remaining local authorities only responsible for carrying out routine checks on low-risk products of non-animal origin.
In addition, the development of IT that would enable importers to give prior notification of high-risk food before it enters the country has been recommended, as well as the need to appoint a ‘food and feed’ co-ordinator funded by the agency.
At present the FSA has no plans to extend these controls to any other UK airports.