The new proposals, to be discussed at the next FSA board meeting, focus on the greater use of food auditors, a more sophisticated and segmented approach to risk ratings and the naming and shaming of offending businesses. The new plans also leave the door wide open for greater private sector and trade body involvement in food safety assurance.
Under the proposals a different approach is being outlined for big business and SMEs. The FSA has been looking to the New Zealand approach to food safety as a potential model.
FSA plans for big business include a far greater reliance on standard setting bodies such as the British Retail Consortium as well as certification bodies and auditors. The emphasis in the future is likely to be on regulators carrying out random checks on auditors and consultants, rather than directly with businesses. What is unclear at this stage is whether this will be a new potential role for EHOs and so require additional training.
Jenny Morris, Head of The Institute of Food Safety, Integrity and Protection (TiFSiP) said “All options are on the table here so it is critical that the profession does not hide from this, the truth is we need radical change and environmental health needs to be part of shaping that change. The time for tinkering has gone and so we need to be looking at how we can help provide safe food into the future.”
When it comes to SMEs the proposals include a strict tightening up of the food business registration process including a national register along with proven tougher food training standards.
The proposals also explore the use of compliance incentives including lower insurance premiums. Trade associations and private business as well as local authorities could be responsible for ensuring checks on pre-trading conditions as well as being involved in ensuring food safety standards once trading.
Pilots are planned between July and December of this year with an operating model in place by mid 2017 ready for roll out by mid 2019 to be completed by 2021.
Jenny Morris said, “The CIEH is very keen to be working very closely with the FSA on these proposals as we have a large number of members working in regulation and we want to tap into their knowledge and expertise in getting this right.”
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