Regulating our future

25 July, 2017
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

Since February 2016, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been consulting with consumers, food businesses and other parts of local and national government, and food regulators in other countries, to develop its approach and improve the way it delivers regulatory controls in food.  It has now published its plans to change food regulation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  This is paper is not about changing regulations but about improving delivery of controls across the food chain. 

The FSA recognise that leaving the EU will have a significant impact on the food and drink sector creating an increased need for a “flexible and responsive regulatory system.”  The FSA consider the existing approach to regulating the food industry to be “outdated and becoming increasingly unsustainable.”  The following are some of the changes the FSA proposes to achieve its vision of a “modern, risk-based, proportionate, robust and resilient system.”

  • An enhanced system of registration for businesses so that risk across the food chain can be better identified and managed by the FSA;
  • 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;
  • The FSA want to be confident that businesses are doing the right thing and will introduce more options for how they prove it. The FSA will set the frequency and type of inspection activity the business will face. 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 remain committed to its Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and will ensure the scheme is sustainable and display becomes mandatory in England as it is in Wales and Northern Ireland.

The “FSA will set standards so that all food businesses of all types understand what is required of them”.  They will provide clarity to “avoid duplication or mixed messages to food businesses about what constitutes good levels of compliance with standards.”

The paper, ‘Regulating Our Future – Why food regulation needs to change and how we are going to do it’ can be read in full here