UK – The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has affirmed the continued relevance of the 2013 Food Safety Sampling and Qualifications Regulations (S&Q Regulations) following a post-implementation review.
This is in line with the requirement to review English regulations within five years of their implementation.
Effective since April 6, 2013, the 2013 S&Q Regulations support the UK Food Safety Act of 1990 and provide guidelines for authorized officers in local authorities to submit samples for chemical analysis or microbiological examinations.
These regulations also align with the Official Controls Regulation 2017/625, retained from the EU, which establishes a legislative framework for official controls to ensure compliance with food and feed laws, animal health and welfare regulations, and plant health and protection products.
The review aimed to thoroughly assess the impact and effectiveness of the regulations since the previous review in 2018. The review process involved gathering input and feedback from various key stakeholders involved in food safety enforcement and analysis such as official laboratories, the Government Chemist, and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
In addition to stakeholder engagement, the review incorporated an impact assessment that examined the costs and benefits associated with the regulations.
This assessment allowed the FSA to evaluate the regulatory framework’s effectiveness and identify any areas where minor amendments or clarifications may be beneficial.
Based on the review’s findings, the FSA confirms that the 2013 S&Q Regulations continue to fulfill their objectives and maintain their relevance and validity.
The agency proposes no major changes to the regulations, and any recommended amendments have received support from stakeholders.
One suggested modification is to update the wording on certificates of analysis to reflect “laboratory of employment” instead of “place,” acknowledging the evolving nature of employment.
Additionally, there is a proposal to provide further clarity on the process for recognizing equivalent qualifications in the 2013 S&Q Regulations or the UK Food Law Code of Practice, addressing a discrepancy between the qualification requirements of Public Analysts and Food Examiners.
Generally, the review highlights the effectiveness and ongoing suitability of the 2013 S&Q Regulations in ensuring food safety standards in the UK.
The FSA has made the review findings and proposals available to the public for comment until June 23, 2023. This engagement process allows individuals and organizations with an interest in food safety and regulations to provide feedback and contribute to shaping the future of the S&Q Regulations.