Revised Food Law Codes of Practice Published

The FSA has published the revised Food Law Codes of Practice (the Codes) and Food Law Practice Guidance and introduced a Competency Framework in England and Northern Ireland, updated versions may be accessed here.  

The Codes provide statutory guidance to local authorities and port health authorities on the approach they should take to regulate food businesses. 

The FSA has reviewed and revised the Codes with the objective that delivery of food control activities by local authorities and port health authorities remains ‘effective, consistent, and proportionate’.

The key changes include: 

  • modernisation of the baseline knowledge, skills, and experience requirements to enable a wider cohort of environmental health and trading standards professionals in England and environmental health professionals in Northern Ireland to undertake official food controls and other official activities, providing they can demonstrate they are competent
  • replacing the existing competency requirements in the Codes with a Competency Framework that defines competency by activity rather than by role
  • introducing a provision to enable the FSA to be more responsive in issuing advice, to enable local authorities to depart legitimately from the Code, in limited circumstances

It is important to note the requirement for ‘consistency and proportionality’ at 6.2 remains with reference to a  ‘reasonable, proportionate and risk-based’ approach to enforcement.

The Food Standards Agency in Wales is still consulting on the proposed changes. The consultation in Wales closes on Thursday, 25 March 2021.

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