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FSA Issues New Food Law Code of Practice in England
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have issued a new Food Law Code of Practice in England which became effective on April 6th. The document provides statutory guidance to local authorities on how they should carry out interventions and official controls. Changes to the code have been introduced as a result of an extensive consultation exercise with industry and regulators which ended in September 2013.
The revisions to the previous code which has been in force since April 2012 include measures to improve focus and effectiveness of enforcement and prevent dual regulation in food businesses. The risk descriptors used to assign inspection frequencies at food establishments have been updated to increase clarity and consistency. Businesses judged to have good management systems in place will be subject to changed intervention frequencies with the agency claiming this will allow local authorities to concentrate their resources on those establishments that “are persistently non compliant with food law.”
Another major change is the recognition that it is now possible for a single competent authority to take responsibility for all enforcement and food control activities at certain premises. It is hoped that this will reduce the need for dual regulation reducing the burdens placed on the food industry and enforcers.
The new code is available now on the FSA website.