FSA News Item, 14 November 2012
The FSA's Board was yesterday presented with an update on the progress of the Food Hygiene Delivery Programme (FHDP). The FHDP was established following the publication, in March 2009, of the report of the Public Inquiry into the 2005 outbreak of E.coli O157 in South Wales, which led to the death of five-year-old Mason Jones.
It is only when we all collaborate that we can make a real difference to consumer protection.
FSA Chair, Jeff Rooker, said: ‘This is an extremely important area of work for the Agency and a clear demonstration of how we can really make a difference in protecting public health. The Board is reassured and encouraged by the positive comments from Sharon Mills and Professor Hugh Pennington and will review progress on this work in 18 months.
'But this job is not done. The FSA will continue to work with the rest of Government to ensure the good progress on FHDP continues. In addition, local authorities must work together, and with the Agency, to achieve greater consistency and to ensure better business compliance. It is only when we all collaborate that we can make a real difference to consumer protection.’
Professor Hugh Pennington chaired the public inquiry and participated in the Board discussion. Professor Pennington said: ‘I am extremely pleased that, without any pressure from me, the FSA has taken the ball and run with it and is continuing to do a first class job in picking up the recommendations of the report.’
Mason Jones’ mother, Sharon Mills, said: ‘Reading through all the work that has been carried out to date has been quite overwhelming. I and my partner, Nathan, feel that the FSA have taken great strides forward in addressing the recommendations of the Pennington report. We feel that there has been a great deal of effort, time and commitment put into investigating and taking positive action.’
Some highlights from this programme of work are below.
Guidance for businesses and local authorities on cross-contamination control
The FSA has produced guidance that applies to food businesses of all sizes and types, handling both raw and ready-to-eat foods. This guidance is now included in information issued to businesses to help them to adopt good food safety management systems. These initiatives include Safer food, better business, CookSafe and Safe Catering. These projects have proved extremely successful, with around a million copies of the packs issued in the past seven years.
introduction of the ‘cause for concern’ initiative in FSA supervised plants
In October 2009, the Agency introduced a system across the UK whereby approved meat premises that were considered to be a ‘cause for concern’ would be subject to focused action until they were able to achieve and sustain compliance with the regulations. This list is published on the FSA’s website and is updated regularly.
Some areas of this work have been controversial; particularly the cross-contamination guidance. The Agency remains absolutely committed to ensuring this guidance is effective and making it as user friendly as possible. Complying with this guidance is a really important way to protect people from the risks of cross contamination.
The FSA recognises that there is still more work to be done, especially in the area of public sector food procurement. This is something that is being worked on and the Agency has commissioned research to explore public sector food procurement in greater depth. Results from this research are due late in 2012.
Various supporting documents relating to this topic are available on the FSA website. See the FSA news item at: http://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2012/nov/food-hygiene-delivery-programme