Procedures for submitting a referee sample
The Government Chemist regularly receives samples for referee analysis under the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Agriculture Act 1970. The circumstances of each case are different but they often centre around concerns about contamination with hazardous substances or the accuracy of label claims.
The benefits of this work range from reinforcing standards of consumer safety and choice - and giving traders a right of appeal - to saving legal costs for both parties when they agree to settle a case on the grounds of sound science.
Referee analysis helps to safeguard the reputation of the courts, enforcement authorities and industry against unwitting errors in analytical science. It can be viewed as a kind of insurance policy, intended to find decisive solutions to complex and costly encounters that have gone beyond resolution by the parties involved.
The Government Chemist has statutory responsibilities under the provisions of specific acts of parliament to act as referee analyst in cases of dispute.
Referee samples can only be accepted for analysis if they have been formally taken and submitted according to the provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Agriculture Act 1970. In the case of a referee food sample, it must be submitted with the agreement of the owner of the food and the authorised enforcement officer, or by court order.
As of January 2006, pursuant to Article 11(5) of Regulation (EC) 882/2004, the owner can request for the referee sample to be submitted to the Government Chemist without having had the second portion analysed.
If you would like to submit a referee sample to the Government Chemist for analysis then please follow the instructions in the document attached.