Food Law News - UK - 1998

23 February 1998: HYGIENE - Licensing of Butchers’ Shops

DoH Letter, 23 February 1998

Licensing of Butchers’ Shops

The letter seeks comments on draft Regulations to amend the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995 to introduce an annual licensing scheme for retail butchers. The licence would be conditional on the introduction of specific hygiene measures primarily to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

The main features of the draft Regulations are:

(i) An annual licence: Butchers’ shops, defined as businesses where unwrapped raw meat is handled and sold or supplied, would be subject to annual licensing by Food Authorities. It is proposed that the licensing arrangements would apply to both butchers’ shops dealing in raw meat only and to butchers’ shops dealing in raw meat and other food. Catering operations would be excluded from the scope of the draft amendment Regulations. Butchery service outlets in multiple stores would require a licence, though the licence would not apply to other areas within the supermarket, not associated with the butchery activities. Vehicles, stalls or moveable structures (regarded as premises as defined in the Food Safety Act) which are involved in selling or supplying unwrapped raw meat would also be subject to licensing.

(ii) An annual application: The proposed Regulations contain provisions for licence applications and prescribe a licence application fee (£100). The Regulations would amend the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995 to make it a criminal offence for butchers’ shops to operate without a licence or in breach of the licensing conditions.

(iii) Revocation and Appeal arrangements: The proposed Regulations contains contain provisions for the suspension or revocation of a licence and appeal procedures.

(iv) Specific hygiene conditions: The hygiene standards necessary to meet conditions of the licence are specified. Proprietors would need to satisfy the Food Authority that:

Additional points are covered in the letter including ability of butchers’ shops to obtain the training required, the lead in period; the Pennington Group’s recommendations for physical separation; the degree of physical separation; the possibility of widening the Regulations to cover other food businesses handling raw meat who supply consumers direct; implications for hygiene Regulations in the meat sector (fresh meat, poultry meat, meat products, etc.)

Comments have been requested by 22 May 1998

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