UK – The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced a brand-new, user-friendly web gateway for food businesses that gathers a wealth of information and assistance in one location.
The new Here to Help area on the FSA website, according to the regulator, has collected its most popular guidance pages, such as those on how to start a food business, how to earn a good food hygiene rating, and how to handle allergens to keep consumers safe.
New case studies, including examples of how to collaborate with local authorities and how the FSA can assist in “getting food business off the ground and grow safely and successfully,” can be found by businesses on the FSA blog.
“We know that new businesses find it difficult to know where to start. We also know that many aren’t aware it is their legal duty to register with their local authority at least 28 days before opening their business,” it said.
According to the FSA’s Register a Food Business digital program, 43% of individuals who registered online between September 2018 and April 2023 were already in business when they did so.
The hub’s addition made it simpler for food enterprises to find the information they required to make sure their standards and hygiene are correct from the minute they open, protecting consumers.
“At a time when new food businesses are facing cost pressures and other challenges, the FSA and local authorities want to make it easier for businesses to do the right thing.
“Our new online hub has the advice and guidance that any new food business needs to make a success of running a compliant and safe business,” said Katie Pettifer, Director of Strategy and Regulatory Compliance at the FSA.
The FSA launched the center, a distinct, stand-alone initiative, a month after promising to strengthen the way it guards the food system against bad actors in response to criticism over how it handled the recent meat sector fraud incident.
The FSA opened a criminal investigation last month after a meat producer supplied goods bearing the British label but actually coming from outside. Additionally, some of these goods may have been spoiled.
The FSA decided to adopt a single phone number or website that whistleblowers can use to report concerns about food businesses after conducting an assessment.
There are currently several telephone lines operated by business organizations, along with one operated by the FSA.
In order to avoid food fraud, they will also strengthen the function of third-party audits in providing information to authorities. Retailers and others monitor their supply chains through third-party audits.
The FSA is also trying to figure out the best way to communicate intelligence-based notifications to firms so that they may be better prepared to address supply chain issues.