Auditors will monitor food safety
Standards Agency is proposing to establish private sector ‘certified regulatory
auditors’ responsible for ensuring business compliance with food safety
role is outlined in a report to be presented to the FSA board next Wednesday
detailing progress to date and future plans around the Regulating our Future
(RoF) agenda designed to address reduced public sector resources.
describes a certified regulatory auditor or a CRA as ‘a centrally authorised
competent person in the private sector who obtains direct evidence of business
compliance and could also be authorised by LAs to undertake other activities
within their areas of responsibility.’
introduction of such a role would be a key plank to the FSA’s plans to
introduce food business assurance schemes as a way of taking pressure off local
authority inspection regimes.
plans are likely to fuel concerns among some EHPs that this is just another
step towards industry self-regulation.
The FSA is
currently reviewing how certification works in other industries and countries
with research to date revealing the need for robust competency levels for those
in the private sector responsible for assessing a company’s food hygiene
standards. It is suggested that a CRA could fulfil such a role.
proposals a CRA would also be able to provide evidence of a businesses
appropriate Food Hygiene Rating Score. The FSA argues ‘this type of approach
will be required to support a FHRS scheme that is credible, sustainable and
capable of supporting the operation of a mandatory display of hygiene ratings
of how a CRA would work with the existing regulatory enforcement regime are to
be explored in the next work stream.
paper also expands on plans for food businesses to have a permit to trade
before being able to sell food to the public. Early consumer research has
revealed that a ‘significant proportion’ of the public thought there was
already such a system in place.
to the FSA there is agreement among both regulators and businesses that the
current food registration regime is not fit for purpose and that a permit to
trade should be linked to risk rather than being a ‘one size fits all’ scheme.
This would require a sector approach to any new scheme.
details about food businesses at a local authority level is described in the
board papers as presenting ‘significant limitations’ when it comes to managing
risk in business trading across different local authorities. The FSA is arguing
that it will need central oversight of all businesses if it is hope to be an
effective Central Competent Authority.
February 2016 RoF is an FSA driven programme to introduce a new regulatory
framework in England, Wales and N Ireland by 2020 that is capable of leveraging
business behaviour to ensure food safety.
along with other RoF proposals will be discussed at the next FSA board meeting
to be held next Wednesday 15 March starting at 9.00. The meeting will be
streamed live on the Internet through the FSA website.
Part of the
RoF programme is to include preparations for exit from the European Union. In
particular, the FSA says, it is
exploring what additional controls may be required to facilitate trading
relations with other countries.