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UK revises food safety regulatory guidance

By Ahmed ElAmin , 23-Jul-2007

The UK has revised its regulatory guidance on food safety, traceability, and recalls in a bid to help processors lower the cost of complying with EU regulations.

The guidance notes now form the main guidance for processors and other related sectors in the UK, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) stated in releasing the document. The notes are meant to help managers comply with articles 14, 16, 18 and 19 of the EU's General Food Law Regulation 178/2002, and the associated UK legislation, including the Food Safety Act 1990 Regulations 2004 and the General Food Regulations 2004. The document is a revision of the FSA's original 2005 guidance and was developed after industry complained that following the European Commission's version on traceability resulted in too high a cost for industry. The regulation applies to all stages of production, processing and distribution of food and feed. The European Commission's guidance classifies traceability information in two categories. The first calls on businesses to meet the legal requirements and the second is meant as a best practice guidance. The FSA guidance notes give a greater discretion to food businesses over how long they must keep traceability records, the FSA stated. The guidance also change the need for businesses to immediately produce traceability records in emergencies. The FSA has also designed the guidance to concentrate on the requirements of the legislation and on providing minimal advice on good practice. "The agency view is that the FSA guidance notes are more appropriate for food businesses in the UK," the regulator stated. "This approach has been agreed with the European Commission." The FSA stated that a separate guidance is also being produced on the provisions in the regulation on animal feed.

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