New fees to be imposed for breaches of food safety rules

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food standards agency Food safety

The UK regulator this week released industry guidance on a
regulation due to come into force 14 December, which impose
higher fees on companies that fail to follow food safety

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the new regulation would bring the UK into compliance with an EU directive requiring mandatory fees to be imposed by regulators in relation to expenses arising from "additional official controls". The fees would only be charged for additional work regulators would have to do when companies breached food safety rules. The FSA said it expects the charges will apply "only infrequently", and will be imposed only in cases where corrective action is needed to protect consumers from contaminated foods and drinks. The guidance gives as an example an incident such as dioxin contamination of animal feed. Such a chemical contamination would involve local authorities in prolonged investigations, including costly analyses of samples. Major food poisoning incidents involving a number of different local authorities, and leading to a significant number of audits of safety management systems, and sampling and analysis, could also result in charges, the FSA stated. Last week the FSA also announced charges would increase by about 8 per cent for the provision of regular inspection services to meat slaughters and cutting plants. The proposed new charges are due to come into force on 31 March 2008 after consultation. The charges mark an increase in the Meat Hygiene Service's hourly chargeout rates by about 8 per cent. Due to policy decisions in previous years, MHS hourly chargeout rates are, depending on the type of staff concerned, about 20 to 30 per cent below what is needed to recover the cost. The increased charges would reduce the deficit to about 15 to 25 per cent.

Related topics Regulation

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