FSA Interested Parties Letter, 26 August 2011
I am writing to inform you of important changes to the approvals process for food and feed establishments that require approval under EU Hygiene Legislation which will take effect on 31st January 2012.
Approval is required for particular food establishments that prepare and handle products of animal origin – for example, meat, minced meat, live bivalve molluscs, fishery products, raw milk, and dairy products. There are approximately 10,000 approved food establishments in the UK. Approval is also required for certain animal feed establishments.
The large majority of UK establishments (such as retailers and caterers) do not require approval. The changes described in this letter do not affect those establishments.
The changes to the approvals process are necessary to ensure that it is in line with a High Court judgment and subsequent Judicial Review (Allan Rich Seafoods v Lincoln Magistrates’ Court) [see Note 1 below]. This judgment established that a new approval is needed where there is a new Food or Feed Business Operator (FBO) at an establishment, regardless of whether or not the nature of the business remains unchanged. The judgment also established that this has been the case since the EU Hygiene Legislation was introduced on 1 January 2006 [see Note 2 below].
In light of the judgment, premises that have changed FBO since 2006 will need to be re-assessed for a new approval, if they have not already been subsequently approved. Establishments that change FBO in future will also need to be assessed for a new approval.
We are seeking to take a proportionate approach to this required change for the approval of establishments for which the FSA has direct enforcement responsibility (e.g slaughterhouses, meat cutting plants and game handling establishments), whilst maintaining public safety and meeting our legal requirements as the central competent authority. For example, if a premises has changed FBO since 1st January 2006 and before 31st January 2012: they may continue to operate pending the required approval visit; and they will be able to continue to use their existing approval number after gaining the new approval.
However, changes of FBO that take place after 31st January 2012 are likely to require a new approval number, unless the business activities are substantially the same.
We have written to all slaughterhouses, meat cutting plants and game handling establishments in the UK to inform them about the judgment and how we intend to implement the changes to the approvals process.
We have also written to Local Authorities, who have responsibility for the approval of other establishments handling products of animal origin, to advise them of the approach the FSA is taking.
Copies of both of these letters are available on our website: http://www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2011/aug/fboapproval
1 High Court Judgement: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2009/3391.html and Judicial Review: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2010/1232.html
2 Regulation (EC) 852/2004: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:226:0003:0021:EN:PDF and Regulation (EC) 853/2004: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:139:0055:0205:EN:PDF