Inspections Slashed in Safety Regime Revamp


The FSA has admitted some major food retailers and suppliers may no longer face official inspections under its plans to rip up the cash-strapped system of local authority-led regulation.

The agency this week published a document clarifying its plans for an overhaul of the UK’s food regulatory system by 2020, under its regulating our Future strategy. It confirmed the go-ahead for controversial plans to use private auditing systems already used by big operators, including FSDF member Tesco.

The retailer has been assisting it in developing plans to replace the FSA’s “unsustainable” inspection system.

Some businesses would enjoy a reduced level and frequency of inspection from authorities, the FSA said, ‘For some businesses, the risk will be so low that they do not merit inspection’ added the FSA document. ‘For others, inspection could be more intrusive and rigorous’.

The FSA also said it was working with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to develop a national inspection strategy for food. Multi-site operators showing robust levels of compliance would benefit from reduced local authority inspections at individual outlets. However, businesses that failed to perform would face national rather than local scrutiny when things go wrong.

The proposed regime will also see the FSA set clearer standards on food safety, enhance the registration system for UK food businesses, and give it more oversight over local authority and private assurance schemes.

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