The amended Code, which falls under EC Regulation 882/2004, was developed with the help of stakeholders, and was laid before the UK Parliament last week.
Some of the changes ushered in include the increased use of competence-based criteria for the authorization of officials and a reward scheme for compliant feed businesses.
Ron Cheesman, senior policy advisor for feed at the FSA, told feednavigator.com:
“The Code of Practice, through the introduction of earned recognition, will ensure that competent authorities can spend more time focusing their checks on areas of higher risk which it is hoped will improve compliance with feed law and reduce levels of non-compliance.”
He said that “earned recognition” takes account of feed business operators own checks and levels of compliance and acknowledges that, in certain circumstances, official controls do not have to be carried out at the frequency which otherwise would be necessary.
“In the past, use of earned recognition in the delivery of feed controls was very limited, but a system has now been put in place that recognizes that membership of certain assurance schemes can lead to reduced levels of control,” added the FSA feed sector expert.
Cheesman said the impact of compliance with the new regulation on feed businesses should be cost neutral.
“Those businesses that are broadly compliant can benefit from earned recognition and should find they receive fewer inspections by the competent authorities, which we hope will reduce business costs.”
Greater recognition for feed assurance schemes
In the UK, local authorities are responsible for ensuring feed companies are complying with feed law, and guidance on the approach they should take is laid out in the feed law code of practice.
In 2012, the FSA carried out a review of local authority delivery of official feed controls.
The agency, subsequently, decided there was a need to for greater recognition of the role of assurance schemes within the feed industry to reduce the burden of inspections and to better target feed risks.
As part of the revisions, the FSA has also set about enhancing its existing feed training programs, in a bid to improve technical knowledge at the local authority level.
During the consultation period on the amendments to the Code, the agency received feedback from industry players concerned that inspectors did not have an “overall understanding” of the whole subject area of animal feed.
“A significant proportion of respondents suggested that there should be a requirement for ongoing training, including supervised inspections to ensure the authorized officer remains fully competent,” said the agency in a summary report of the feedback arising out of the public consultation phase.
The feed law code of practices for the feed business in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also set to be revised.