Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - UK - 2016

FSA Enforcement Letter (ENF/E/16/032), 30 June 2016

BREXIT/ENFORCEMENT - FSA Letter: EU referendum and the Regulating our Future Programme

I anticipate that local authority colleagues will be looking to the Food Standards Agency for some clarity following the Referendum result. Especially in relation to the delivery of official controls for food safety and our ongoing work to develop a sustainable delivery model for the future.

The UK public have voted to leave the EU but for the time being the UK still remains part of it and all existing domestic and EU legal requirements remain in force. The FSA’s priority, as always, is to protect consumers’ interests and ensure food is safe.

It is clear that the process of leaving the EU will take some time, a date has to be determined and, until the time of exit, EU legislation remains in place. FSA officials will continue to provide guidance and support to food businesses and competent food authorities that reflect the requirements of EU legislation. Food business operators must continue to function within the requirements of existing food hygiene legislation. Local authorities and their authorised officers must also continue to enforce the current legislation having full regard to the requirements set out in the Food Law Code of Practice and Practice Guidance.

We recently engaged with local authorities to introduce the FSA’s programme of work that will deliver a sustainable model for food safety controls. An outline of the programme, called “Regulating our Future”, was considered by the FSA Board in May [See Board Paper] and we are now putting structures in place to take the programme forward. An infographic outlining the programme is included with this letter [See RoF Infographic]. Delivering the new model is a significant task and we anticipate a total development and implementation period of up to five years. Again, the existing legislative requirements and Codes of Practice will continue to apply during the term of the development programme and local authorities must continue to follow those until the new model is implemented.

In the development phase we shall be open minded and will learn from what works and what does not. This will involve the synthesis, trialling and amendment of elements of the developing model and we shall approach a number of local authorities to collaborate in “pathfinder” projects where we see a local authority “fit” with the element of the model that is under consideration.

We are also aware that a number of authorities have already developed innovative approaches to ensuring that food businesses deliver safe food. We want to benefit from that experience too and engage with those authorities. It will be important to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach to see if it delivers equivalence in consumer protection to the detailed Food Law Code of Practice requirements. We will let you know more detail on the specific arrangements when they are in place, but let us know if you are a local authority with an innovative approach that delivers safer food for consumers.

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