FSA Consultation, 17 March 2010
A copy of the consultation document is available on this site. See: Proposal to Reduce the Frequency of On-Farm Official Inspection in the Dairy Sector (England)
The overall objective of the proposal is to reduce the burden of official controls on dairy production holdings in England and Wales by recognising, where applicable, the hygiene aspects of the results of audits carried out by Assured Dairy Farms (ADF), while maintaining consumer safety.
Responses are requested by: 9 June 2010
Who will this consultation be of most interest to?
Dairy farmers, farmers' representatives, milk buyers and processors, enforcement bodies and those involved with the ADF.
What is the subject of this consultation?
A proposal to reduce the frequency of official on-farm hygiene inspections in the dairy sector. The reduction would be introduced for those dairy farms that have been assessed by Animal Health Dairy Hygiene as lower risk and that also have ADF status.
What is the purpose of this consultation?
The overall objective of the proposal is to reduce the burden of official controls on dairy production holdings in England and Wales by recognising, where applicable, the hygiene aspects of the results of audits carried out by Assured Dairy Farms, while maintaining consumer safety.
The Government’s Whole Farm Approach supports Defra's five year strategy 'Putting Sustainable Development into Practice in Farming, Food and Animal Health and Welfare'. It is aimed at:
As part of the Whole Farm Approach, the On-farm Inspections Project is developing a strategy for integrating on-farm advisory and enforcement visits in order to reduce the burdens on farmers and improve value for public money. It will achieve this through the following:
A number of options for potential pilot projects were identified, one of which was inspection activity in the dairy sector.
At present in England and Wales, milk production holdings are subject to statutory inspections by Animal Health Dairy Hygiene (AHDH), on behalf of the Food Standards Agency, for compliance with food hygiene legislation [Regulations (EC) 852/2004 and 853./2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs set out food hygiene requirements with which food businesses (including primary production) must comply and 854/2004 sets out the requirements for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin] and the majority are also audited for compliance with farm assurance scheme standards by ADF. There is provision in legislation [Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official feed and food – Recital 13] for the recognition of such private quality assurance programmes in the risk prioritisation of official controls. The FSA has applied this principle to official controls in those primary sectors where food hygiene requirements had not applied prior to the introduction of new hygiene controls in 2006 and has now assessed whether the approach might be extended to the dairy sector where official controls on milk production premises have been established for many years.
The changes proposed would apply to inspections of primary production of milk on farm. Arrangements for the inspection and approval by local authorities of on-farm milk processing (such as pasteurisation and cheesemaking) would remain unchanged.
Consultation Process So Far:
The FSA set up a stakeholder group with industry representatives to take this work forward. It met four times: in March 2007, July 2008, September 2008 and July 2009. The last meeting in July 2009 discussed and agreed the options that would be put to formal public consultation.
We welcome comments from all stakeholders. Please send your response by email or post using the contact details given. All responses received as part of this consultation will be given careful consideration. These will be summarised and published on the Agency’s website in due course.
Questions asked in this consultation:
Stakeholders are asked to comment on the proposals to reduce official inspection frequency on lower risk dairy farms as identified above.
Stakeholders are asked to comment on the costs and benefits (both monetised and non-monetised) identified in the consultation stage impact assessment for Options 1, 2 and 3.
Responses are required by close 9 June 2010. Please state, in your response, whether you are responding as a private individual or on behalf of an organisation/company (including details of any stakeholders your organisation represents).