Food Standards Agency proposes operating controls

The Food Standards Agency is proposing to remove the right of meat firms to operate pending the determination of an appeal.

It said that the introduction of this new Statutory Instrument, as part of its proposed amendment to the Official Feed and Food Controls (England) Regulation, would bring national legislation in the UK in line with EU requirements.

Food Standards Agency (FSA) Enforcement Strategy Team official Rufina Acheampong said: "Since the EU regulations that deal with hygiene of food from animal origin are aimed at protecting public health, the Agency considers it inappropriate for food business operators (FBOs) that are non-compliant with food law, to continue to operate until appeals are dealt with.

"Refusal or withdrawal of approval [to operate] is a last resort, which is only applied where serious deficiencies remain, despite a lengthy process of enforcement actions by the official veterinarian or the local food authority's enforcement officer working with the FBO."

The FSA is now calling for the views of meat firms that are subject to veterinary control, their representative bodies, and food authorities that may be affected by the proposal.

Acheampong added: "The FSA is consulting with all FBOs of meat establishments under veterinary control which may be affected by this proposal, and all local authorities, since some local authorities may be involved in refusing, or withdrawing, the approval of establishments to handle products of animal origin. No further consultations or meetings are proposed."

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