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Food Standards Agency set up New Appeals Panel
Food businesses in England who disagree with local authorities’ advice on food hygiene and food standards will now have the chance to take their case to a new appeals body set up by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The Independent Business Appeals Panel (IBAP), which was established on January 1st, will consist of a range of subject experts (including food industry representatives) who will look into cases where business owners consider advice given by local authority inspectors is incorrect or goes beyond what is required by legislation. The new procedure will not be relevant where enforcement action has been taken.
Businesses can only appeal to the panel if the matter has not been concluded after being raised with the authority concerned, initially through the inspecting officer and then the authority’s complaints procedure if required.
Guidance on the process and more details about the IBAP can be found on the FSA web site here. The decision of the panel will be sent to both parties and the expectation is that the local authority will take note of any recommendations made. Results will also be published online.
The FSA are quick to point out that the new procedure does not preclude business owners from taking action through more traditional routes such as the local government ombudsman or directly to an MP.