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    FSA launches consultation on modernising food hygiene ratings

    Photo: iStock

    The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has on Monday launched a 12-week consultation on the proposed developments for a modernised food hygiene delivery model (FHDM).

    The agency aims to develop a model that is fit for the future and ensures that the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) continues to operate successfully and maintains consumer confidence.

    The FSA is seeking views from local authorities and district councils, food business operators, third-party assurance organisations for food safety, professional awarding bodies for environmental health and trading standards, trade unions and other interested groups.

    In September last year the FSA board endorsed the headline policy and principles to evaluate success for a modernised FHDM. The agency is now seeking stakeholders’ views on the following proposed developments:

    • a modernised food hygiene intervention rating scheme, including a decision matrix, to determine the appropriate frequency of food hygiene controls based on the risk posed by a food business establishment
    • an updated risk-based approach to the timescales for initial official controls of new food establishments, and for undertaking due official controls
    • increased flexibility as to the methods and techniques of official controls that can be used to risk rate an establishment, including the appropriate use of remote assessment
    • extending the activities that officers, such as Regulatory Support Officers, who do not hold a ‘suitable qualification’ for food hygiene can, if competent, undertake.

    “The food landscape has changed dramatically in the three decades since the current regulatory system was introduced, as has the way we buy and consume food,” Katie Pettifer, FSA director for strategy and regulatory compliance, said.

    “We want people to have food they can trust. So we want to make sure local authorities and district councils can target their resources as effectively as possible as we develop a food hygiene regulatory model that is fit for the future.

    “Our proposals will enable local authorities to spend more of their time on food businesses that are non-compliant or pose the highest risk to public health, thereby reducing regulatory burdens on compliant or low-risk businesses.”

    The consultations for England, Wales and Northern Ireland are available on the FSA website. The consultation ends on 30 June.

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