Food Standards Agency commences consultation on proposed Food Law Code amendments

UK – The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has started a 12-week consultation to get opinions on the proposed amendments to the Food Law Code of Practice in England from local governments, food business owners, unions, and interested organisations.

The proposals include adjustments to the Code of Practice’s delivery methodology for food standards and related materials.

These revisions include the introduction of a new food standards risk rating scheme that LA officers will use to evaluate the risk posed by a food business, and a new decision matrix to determine the frequency at which food standards official controls should be delivered in line with the outcome of the risk assessment.

The Code will affect local authorities because they must abide by it when conducting formal food controls.

It shall be regularly examined and revised to guarantee that it is relevant, effective, and consistent. The FSA claims that by doing this, the Code will appropriately reflect present goals, policies, and statutory obligations.

“The proposed amendments to the Code will enable local authorities to manage resources more effectively, by prioritising their activities on food businesses that pose the highest risk to public health and consumers,” commented Michael Jackson, Head of Regulatory Compliance Division, FSA.

Jackson notes that the consultation concludes on 9 January 2023 at midnight (UK time) and has urged all those interested, to ensure they respond in the next 12 weeks.

Access to the consultation page is available on the FSA website, which also contains the Food Code Law of Practice.

As per the current Food Code Law, the appropriate planned intervention for an establishment that has been given an intervention rating of A (101-180) for food standards, must be an inspection, partial inspection, or audit, which must be carried out at intervals of 12 months. 

Those with a B (46-100) should be inspected after every 24 months.

Any other additional intervention, such as sampling or education and training, must be recorded against the establishment for the purpose of monitoring enforcement actions but must not be used as the intervention planned by the intervention frequency

“The proposed amendments to the Code will enable local authorities to manage resources more effectively, by prioritising their activities on food businesses that pose the highest risk to public health and consumers.”

Michael Jackson, Head of Regulatory Compliance Division, FSA Tweet

Establishments that have been given an intervention rating of category C for food standards could be subject to an Alternative Enforcement Strategy, stipulates the Code.

Competent Authorities must ensure that these establishments continue to be subject to official food controls, an important reason being so that complaints can be investigated.

Competent Authorities that decide to subject low-risk establishments to Alternative Enforcement Strategies must set out their strategies for maintaining surveillance of such establishments in their service plan and/or enforcement policy.

These establishments must, as a minimum, be subject to an intervention by the Competent Authority, which could take the form of an Alternative Enforcement Strategy, not less than once every five years for food standards. 

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