FSA Consultation Letter, 20 July 2006
The Quick-Frozen Foodstuffs ( England ) Regulations 2006 revoke and remake, with amendments, the Quick-Frozen Foodstuffs Regulations 1990. Responses are requested by 2 November 2006
The draft 2006 regulations carry forward, and consolidate, the existing requirements on conditions that must be fulfilled by quick-frozen foodstuffs (QFF) (Council Directive 89/108/EEC), existing requirements on sampling procedures and official methods of analysis of temperatures of QFF (Commission Directive 92/2/EEC), as well as including the new requirements of temperature monitoring equipment as set out in Commission Regulation 37/2005.
The key new requirements of Regulation 37/2005 are:
There are derogations from the new requirements of Regulation 37/2005 for: (i) retail display cabinets; (ii) transport of QFF in the course of local distribution; and (iii) coldstore facilities with capacity of less than 10m3 used for storing stock in retail outlets.
Finally, it should be noted that none of the aforementioned QFF regulations and directives apply if food is not being described as ‘quick-frozen'. ‘Quick-frozen' is an optional description, so legal requirements of QFF rules only apply to foods meeting the definition of QFF and if they are labelled as ‘quick-frozen'.
When Directive 92/1/EEC was adopted, standards for the instruments used to monitor temperatures for transport, warehousing and storage of QFF had not been established. Under Directive 92/1/EC, competent authorities of the country in which a means of transport for QFF was registered were themselves required to approve the temperature monitoring equipment used in the transport. As a result, many Member States set up their own standards and testing regimes for temperature recorders and thermometers. Approval of temperature recorders in the UK was linked to specifications laid down in national QFF regulations and the equipment deemed to be approved if it met these specifications.
Standards regarding the instruments for monitoring and recording air temperatures have since been established by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN). A new Commission Regulation, 37/2005, published on 12 January 2005 , repeals and replaces Directive 92/1/EEC from 1 January 2006 and requires temperature monitoring equipment to achieve these agreed common CEN standards.
The CEN standards are a little more exacting than the specifications laid down for temperature monitoring equipment in the national regulations and bring in safety (electrical) and performance requirements under more severe conditions of use.
The other directives relating to QFF remain unchanged, that is: Council Directive 89/108/EEC of 21 December 1988 on the approximation of the laws relating to quick-frozen foodstuffs for human consumption; and Commission Directive 92/2/EEC of 13 January 1992 laying down the sampling procedure and the Community method of analysis for the official control of the temperatures of quick-frozen foods intended for human consumption.
Requirements of Commission Regulation 37/2005 (and where they have been taken forward in the consolidated, draft SI)
The proposed national regulations (i.e. the draft 2006 SI) carry forward, and consolidate, the existing requirements on conditions that must be fulfilled by quick-frozen foodstuffs (QFF) (Council Directive 89/108/EEC) (see Regulation 3 of, and Schedule 2, to the draft SI), existing requirements on sampling procedures and official methods of analysis of temperatures of QFF (Commission Directive 92/2/EEC) (see Regulation 7 of the draft SI). The requirements of Commission Regulation 37/2005, being in the form of a regulation, are directly applicable in all Member States so the proposed national regulations also provide for related requirements on enforcement. A summary table showing the origin of each provision in the draft SI and, highlighting those that are new, is included at the link below.
Commission Regulation 37/2005 (which can be found on the Commission website) requires the means of transport, warehousing and storage of QFF to be fitted with temperature monitoring equipment to monitor the air temperature to which QFF are subjected, at frequent and regular intervals.
The regulation also requires that all temperature measuring instruments used (air temperature recorders and thermometers) must achieve agreed common standards established for these instruments by CEN . More specifically:
The EC regulation gives a derogation from the above requirements for air temperature monitoring during storage in retail display cabinets and during local distribution of QFF where the air temperature need only be monitored by at least one easily visible thermometer (see Schedule 1 to the draft SI). For open retail display cabinets the maximum load line of the cabinet must be clearly marked and thermometer must indicate the temperature at the maximum load line of the cabinet at the air return side at the level of that mark (see Schedule 1 to the draft SI).
The additional derogation for coldstores facilities of less than 10m3 for storing stock in retail outlets has been continued (see Regulation 9(4) of the draft SI). The derogation permits the air temperature in such cases to be measured by an easily visible thermometer.
Commission Regulation 37/2005 also removes an earlier derogation in Directive 92/1/EEC relating to temperature monitoring requirements for QFF transported by rail as this derogation is no longer justified. Regulation 37/2005 applies to transport of QFF by rail from 1 January 2006 (see Schedule 1 to the draft SI).
Regulation 9 of the draft SI provides for offences penalties and enforcement, in particular Regulation 9(2) of the draft SI sets out offences for failure to comply with the provisions of Commission Regulation 37/2005.
The following are available on this site: