Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - UK - 2017

FSA Enforcement Letter (ENF/E/17/016), 20 February 2017

HYGIENE - Risk Based Primary Production Food Hygiene Inspections

Further to the consultation letter ENF/E/16/050 dated 8 September 2016 I am writing to update you on the current position of the primary production enforcement priorities programme.

In October 2016, a workshop was held with volunteer enforcement authorities to establish a risk prioritisation of crops. It was agreed that a pilot primary production food hygiene inspection programme should be implemented for a year from April 2017. This letter is intended to provide some clarification about roles and responsibilities for enforcement authorities during this time and how and when the pilot inspection programme will commence.

What Actions do Enforcement Authorities need to take?

In accordance with the National Enforcement Priorities enforcing authorities should commence identification of food businesses operating at the level of primary production. The FSA is currently producing some ‘top tips’ guidance to assist in the identification of primary producers. This will be published on our website shortly.

Pilot Primary Production Food Hygiene Inspection Programme

What outcomes are the FSA looking for from this pilot?

What are the dates of the roll out of the pilot programme?

The programme will roll out with volunteer enforcement authorities from 1 April 2017, for a year.

Which crops have been prioritised for inspection?

We are requesting that the following crops be prioritised for targeted inspection by the volunteer enforcement authorities for this year April 2017- March 2108.

Who are the volunteer enforcement authorities?

We have a geographical spread of authorities in England who have already volunteered including Northumberland County Council, Cumbria County Council, North Yorkshire County Council, Stockton Borough Council, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Norfolk County Council, and Cornwall Council.

Enforcing Authorities in Wales and DAERA in Northern Ireland are assisting too.

What is expected of the volunteer enforcement authorities?

The volunteer enforcement authorities are being asked to check for the existence of any of the above growers in their area. This is not intended to be disproportionately onerous or time consuming. Initially this will be more of a desk top exercise of what is out there just to make a start to the programme. If volunteers select 5 to 10 growers to inspect during the coming season, this will in total give us an excellent overview of the logistics, gaps, additional guidance and training needed for wider roll out.

How will inspections be reported?

Clarification with LAEMS colleagues is being sought on reporting inspections. The Food and Feed Law Codes of Practice and risk rating options are being reviewed, the pilot will be used to help determine the best approach in future

Has an inspection checklist been developed?

An aide memoire checklist has been drafted and will be finalised for use in the pilot.

Has primary production guidance been updated?

Guidance for officers is currently being reviewed and it’s likely the following document will be adapted to provide an additional Annex for fresh produce. Later in the year other sections will be reviewed too.

The English version of the fresh fruits and vegetables primary production hygiene guide has just been uploaded on to the DG Sante website (see link below). Other language versions will be released when translation is complete. The Commission expects to make these available by mid-March 2017 at the earliest.

Is it still possible to volunteer to take part in the pilot programme?

If other enforcement authorities are interested in taking part in this pilot programme or if you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact [the FSA] for further information.

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