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Food Competent Certifying Officers

Working on behalf of APHA as an FCCO and the requirements

Food Competent Certifying Officer (FCCO) is a Certifying Officer that has competencies to operate official controls under the Food Act and means a person deployed by a competent authority, either as staff or otherwise, and who is appropriately qualified to perform official controls and other official activities in accordance with the Official Controls Regulation (2017/625), and any other relevant rules.

The Policy for Authorisation of FCCO by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in Great Britain (ET209) sets out the relationship between FCCOs and APHA as the competent authority responsible for their authorisation. All FCCOs must be familiar with the content of this document and should take time to read it.

Working as an FCCO

FCCO's are authorised by and act on behalf of APHA and must be employed by a Local Authority (LA) or Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

FCCOs act on behalf of APHA to certify certain Export Health Certificates (EHCs) to other countries. Each importing country specifies what kind of Certifying Officer can sign an EHC for a particular product or range of products. This requirement will be specified on the certificate and in the accompanying instructions, which are known as the 'Notes for Guidance'.

For instance, for exports to the EU an FCCO can sign EHC’s for:

  • fishery products
  • live bivalve molluscs and
  • composite products which contain processed egg or fish products, but do not contain meat or dairy.

How do I become an FCCO?

To become an FCCO you must work for a LA or FSS and meet the eligibility criteria for the role as stated in the Policy of Authorisation for FCCOs.  

You must:

  • Register with Improve International
  • enrol for the OCQ(CO) – FCCO training
  • complete the training including successful completion of the exam
  • Await authorisation as a FCCO on successful completion of the training.

Further information on the registration process and training are available from Improve International.

See the information on training and authorisation, for further details on becoming an FCCO.

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