Major changes in UK food safety regulations may be in the pipeline.
In plans to shift food safety regulation away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, the Food Standards Agency has announced a three-month pilot program allowing some big retailers and restaurants to oversee their own food safety operations.
This represents a massive change of direction away from the long-established inspection model based on site visits by local authority inspectors.
According to FSA, the existing system is ‘a resource intensive way to maintain confidence that food is safe. We believe there are other options worth exploring as a means of ensuring consumer protection, ensuring that food safety and authenticity are top of a food business’s mind every day – not just on inspection day.’
The three-month pilot program will compare food safety data collected direct from businesses with that collected by local authority inspections. If successful, the new program could be applied nationwide by 2020.
Critics will argue that the proposals stem from FSA budget cuts and could open the door to food contamination and food fraud.
More details can be found on the Food Safety News web site here.
For a comprehensive discussion of the changing landscape of food safety in the UK download the FSA’s recent publication Food Safety Issues and Trends Report 2020.
What do you think? Is a system of FSA inspectors on the ground essential to making the system safe?