FSA Consultation letter, 31 August 2006
For a copy, on this site, of the pdf document provided by the FSA, go to Farm Hygiene Consultation: Annexes
Arrangements are being made for the enforcement of EU food hygiene legislation on farms in England . Local authorities will be the enforcement authority for those aspects of the legislation applying for the first time. The Agency seeks comments on those arrangements in general and on certain specific issues. Responses are requested by: 20 November 2006
New hygiene legislation has for the first time extended basic food hygiene requirements to the primary production sector. Hygiene requirements already apply to milk production holdings and (at a very basic level) to egg production.
in addition, fishing, aquaculture and wild game production fall within the definition of 'primary production'. They too are subject to hygiene requirements, but the enforcement of these is not a new requirement and current enforcement arrangements for these types of operations will remain unchanged and are not therefore covered in this consultation.
From 1 January 2006 EU Hygiene legislation introduced new requirements for the hygiene of facilities and equipment used in connection with primary production and in relation to harvesting and the rearing of animals. The new legislation requires registration and enforcement arrangements to be in place.
The background document available at the link below explains the approach we are taking to developing an enforcement regime and how the work will be taken forward. In addition there is discussion of issues associated with compliance with these legal requirements. Specific issues on which we would welcome your comments are highlighted.
Subject to the outcome of this consultation exercise and the nature of any substantive issues arising from it, the intention is that the arrangements for enforcement activity will be introduced from 1 December 2006 . The short period between completion of the consultation exercise and the introduction of the new regime reflects a number of factors:
In England , it has been decided that local authorities will undertake the enforcement role. Authorised officers from local authorities already visit farms to carry out animal health and welfare enforcement activity and enforcement of animal feed legislation. They are likely to have, or be in a position (with guidance and training) to gain, the skills and experience necessary to advise on the requirements of the food hygiene legislation as it applies to farmers and growers.
In relation to the dairy sector and to egg production units, the Dairy Hygiene Inspectorate (DHI) carry out inspections on milk production holdings and the Egg Marketing Inspectorate (EMI) will carry out inspections at egg production units in England . The intention is that they will continue to carry out these functions. Any possible role in the inspection of mixed farms will be considered when enforcement arrangements are reviewed in December 2007.
Any enforcement regime must seek to reduce the administrative burden of regulation, by using a risk-based approach to enforcement and where possible joining up programmes of inspections with other regulators. This is in accordance with the recommendations of the Hampton Report, Reducing administrative burdens: effective inspection and enforcement, published in 2005, to which the Government signed up.
We would particularly welcome views from businesses on what the policy and administrative cost will be of the enforcement of the new hygiene requirements. A number of specific questions are highlighted in the Regulatory Impact Assessment.