The Food Standards Agency (FSA) publishes four food law codes of practice which are for use by the food authorities in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. These are statutory codes of practice which, in England, is issued under section 40 of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
Food authorities are required have regard to the relevant code in the discharge of their duties or risk successful challenge to their decisions or actions, and evidence being ruled inadmissible by a court. It is, therefore, essential that food businesses are at least aware of their content in their dealings with local enforcement authorities. The codes for England and Wales have recently been updated and came into force on 6 April 2014, replacing earlier versions dated April 2012.
The changes made to The Food Law Code of Practice (England) are as follows:
- Clarification and reinforcement of the role of the primary authority and the individual food authority obligations under the primary authority scheme (para 1.1.7).
- Consolidation of the food hygiene qualification requirements for authorised officers dealing with primary production (para 126.96.36.199.4).
- Consolidation of the food standards qualification requirements for authorised officers undertaking food standards (composition and labelling) work (para 188.8.131.52.2).
- New restriction on food authorities adopting the new arrangements for category D premises carrying out an intervention which is not an official control (an inspection or partial on-site inspection) where the establishment is engaged in high risk rated processing or handling (para 184.108.40.206.3).
- Text revised to reduce dual enforcement in establishments currently subject to both FSA and local authority control (para 5.1.2).
- New introductory text on using the food hygiene intervention risk rating scheme which supports greater consistency of approach (Annex 5.2).
- New wording and terminology to clarify type of food and method of handling in Part 1 to aid consistency of use by food authorities (Annex 5.3).
- Updated text in method of processing in Part 1 to reflect new practices within the food industry (Annex 5.3).
- Updated text in consumers at risk in Part 1 to clarify scoring and aid consistency of approach by food authorities (Annex 5.3).
- New introductory text in confidence in management/control procedures in Part 3 to emphasise role of primary authority and clarifying examples used regarding management arrangements to aid consistency of interpretation by food authorities (Annex 5.3).
- Food hygiene minimum intervention frequencies - upper scoring level increased for business rated risk category ‘D’ to allow certain well managed establishments to be subject to less frequent interventions by the food authority(Annex 5.4).
The Food Law Code of Practice (Wales), April 2014
The Food Law Code of Practice (Northern Ireland), April 2012
The Food Law Code of Practice (Scotland), 20 March 2009
The Artisan Food Law Library is cross-referenced to the relevant sections of the Food Law Code of Practice (England) dated April 2012. This will be updated but do bear this in mind in the interim.