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Food regulation is changing

The FSA Chairman, Heather Hancock, has published new plans to change food regulation[1].

The document, ‘Regulating Our Future – Why food regulation needs to change and how we are going to do it’, sets out proposals to transform the way food businesses are regulated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The changes are being introduced because the FSA believes that the existing approach to regulating the food industry is outdated and becoming increasingly unsustainable.

Since February 2016, the FSA has been consulting and working with consumers, food businesses, other parts of local and national government and food regulators in other countries to develop its future approach to food regulation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It is aiming to ensure a sustainable approach to food safety regulation, which brings about business behaviour change to benefit consumers. By 2020, it plans to have delivered a new, flexible regulatory model for food.

The paper details the changes the FSA wants to make to build a modern, riskbased, proportionate, robust and resilient system. The key changes proposed are:

• An enhanced system of registration for businesses, which will mean securing better information on all businesses so that the FSA can better identify and manage risk across the food chain. Knowing more

about a food business will enable better judgments to be made about regulating it. The aim is to create a hostile environment for those businesses that don’t proactively register.

• Segmenting businesses in a better way using a range of risk indicators based on wider information about the business, including the information gathered at the point of registration and from other sources.

• There will be more onus on businesses to prove that they are doing the right thing. Depending on how robust the information that businesses share is, including their past performance, the FSA will set the frequency and type of inspection activity they face. This means businesses with a good history of compliance will face a lower burden from regulation and free up local authority resources to target the businesses that present the greatest risk to public health.

The FSA remains committed to its Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. It will continue to ensure the scheme is sustainable and that display legislation becomes mandatory in England as it is in Wales and Northern Ireland.

References

1. https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/rof-paper-july2017.pdf



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