FSA Consultation Letter, 15 August 2012
A copy of the consultation package is available on this site. Note that it contains links to some of the documents mentioned below. See: Traceability Consultation Letter
The purpose of the consultation is to ask stakeholders to comment on the FSA’s assessment of the impact of the new European Commission Regulation relating to clarification of traceability requirements.
Responses are requested by: 23 November 2012
What is the subject of this consultation?
EU food safety and food hygiene Regulations apply directly in the UK, so it is necessary to ensure that national measures are in place to enable full effectiveness of the EU Regulation (i.e. to provide for the enforcement of the new requirements of the EU Regulation).
It will not be necessary to introduce new national measures (i.e. through a Statutory Instrument (SI)) in this case because Regulation (EU) No 931/2011 clarifies the traceability information required by Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 which is enforced in Great Britain via the General Food Regulations 2004. We plan to facilitate implementation of Regulation (EU) No 931/2011 through targeted guidance to assist FBOs and Enforcement Officers understanding and compliance with the requirements of the new legislation. A draft of the proposed guidance is provided as part of this consultation.
This consultation is being undertaken on a Great Britain basis. A separate but similar consultation is being undertaken in Northern Ireland.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is obliged (except in cases of emergency) to consult interested parties on all changes to food law, both EU and national. Where there is any likelihood that the impacts of changes to laws may be significant, the FSA will prepare an IA formally setting out its considered views on the costs and/or benefits of these changes.
IAs are usually started at the early stage of the life of a piece of proposed EU legislation and updated as the proposal is negotiated and information is gathered on the impact of the proposal. A formal consultation is often issued when the proposals are agreed and a draft IA is prepared. Although we envisage that there is no need to amend the General Food Regulations 2004 in Great Britain, FBOs are still required to adhere to the enhanced traceability requirements which is why the IA and draft guidance have been developed.
Key issue: Clarification of documentation required by FBOs to demonstrate traceability for food of animal origin as required by Regulation (EU) No 931/2011.
Regulation (EU) No 931/2011 sets out the information FBOs are required to keep to demonstrate traceability. This includes:
A description of the food; the quantity; the name and address of the FBO who dispatched the food:
It is for the FBO to decide what constitutes a lot, batch or consignment but they should be aware that if they decide that their whole stock/production is considered as one batch, then their entire stock/production would be subject to recall or withdrawal in the event of a problem being identified.
Over the course of the negotiations in the EU Working Groups, FSA officials have informally consulted relevant industry representatives on the proposals and have worked to influence the discussions as a result of those consultations. Reports of EU meetings where hygiene policy is discussed are published on the FSA website.
A draft IA is included in this consultation and the FSA asks stakeholders to comment on the estimates of costs and/or benefits of clarifying the information FBOs are required to keep to demonstrate traceability as required by the introduction of Regulation (EU) No 931/2011..
The draft IA contains four questions.
Regulation (EU) No 931/2011
We would welcome comments, particularly from FBOs and Enforcement Officers, in response to any or all of the questions above. If stakeholders can share any evidence or experiences, it would help us to demonstrate that the estimates in the IA are well-founded.
We are currently drafting targeted guidance to explain the effects of the new Regulation and measures FBOs will have to take to demonstrate that any requirements or provisions are being met.
There are currently two full guidance documents in circulation explaining the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 provisions for traceability:
We are considering withdrawing the UK guidance as the EU guidance covers the same requirements and replacing it with web-based sector specific text which would be targeted at primary producers, manufacturers and caterers. We envisage that this would be more user-friendly and provide the information in a manner which FBOs, particularly small and medium sized businesses, will find more useful.
A draft example of the type of information we are considering uploading, in this case aimed at caterers, is provided at Annex C – please note that this is an early draft and the text is liable to undergo considerable amendment prior to it being finalised. This is intended as sector specific guidance so we will also be providing similar guidance for other food sectors. The text is provided to inform FBOs of the legal requirements of the Regulations.
Responses are required by close 23 November 2012. 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).