UK – The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revised its proposed modernized Food Hygiene Delivery Model (FHDM) following a public consultation held from April to June 2023.
The consultation aimed to gather feedback from stakeholders regarding changes intended to streamline food regulation, reduce burdens on compliant businesses, and enhance public health safety measures.
After evaluating the responses, the FSA has decided not to progress several elements of the initial proposal.
The planned modernized intervention rating scheme, which involved intervention scoring and control frequencies based on a decision matrix, will not be implemented due to concerns raised by local authorities (LAs) about resource constraints and implementation challenges.
However, the agency will explore certain amendments, including providing clarification and guidance on specific aspects related to food provision to vulnerable risk groups, management confidence, allergen assessments, and food safety culture evaluation.
Additionally, the FSA will refine the updated risk-based approach to timescales for initial official controls of new food establishments, as well as due official controls, addressing concerns raised during the consultation.
The agency will assess costs and consider necessary changes to the Food Law Code of Practice and Practice Guidance.
In response to stakeholder feedback, the FSA will also continue developing proposals to increase flexibility in official control methods and techniques.
This includes the appropriate use of remote assessments, aiming to strike a balance between flexibility and effective risk assessment. Further work will be done to address limitations and concerns raised by stakeholders.
Furthermore, the FSA will explore expanding the activities of officers, such as Regulatory Support Officers (RSOs), who do not hold a “suitable” qualification for food hygiene, provided they demonstrate competency.
Additional limitations, controls, and training requirements will be reviewed to address stakeholder concerns. Changes will be considered in the context of the Code, Practice Guidance, and Competency Framework.
The revised approach reflects the FSA’s commitment to ensuring food safety while addressing the challenges and considerations voiced by stakeholders.
The agency will work closely with the industry and other relevant bodies to implement changes that prioritize public health and facilitate compliance within the food sector.