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A modernised food hygiene delivery model is on the horizon

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is seeking views on its proposed modernisation of the food hygiene delivery model operating in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In the opinion of the FSA, the food hygiene delivery model, particularly the intervention rating scheme that drives planned interventions, remains generally fit for purpose in terms of protecting consumers. However, there are a number of challenges associated with it that have emerged over recent years as the pace of change in the food industry has increased.

cafe-counter top with clean table for food hygiene

According to Katie Pettifer, Director for Strategy and Regulatory Compliance, “The food landscape has changed dramatically in the three decades since the current regulatory system was introduced, as has the way we buy and consume food.  We want people to have food they can trust. So we want to make sure local authorities and district councils can target their resources as effectively as possible as we develop a food hygiene regulatory model that is fit for the future. Our proposals will enable local authorities to spend more of their time on food businesses that are non-compliant or pose the highest risk to public health, thereby reducing regulatory burdens on compliant or low-risk businesses.”

 The FSA has identified the following key challenges:

  • that all new establishments currently require an initial inspection irrespective of the nature of the business or potential risks posed to public health
  • that planned interventions are not weighted by all available relevant data, information and intelligence, and that sustained compliance and controls undertaken by the business itself, including third-party audits, are not fully taken into account
  • that the weighting of inherent and compliance risk can result in compliant establishments being inspected more frequently than is arguably necessary
  • that the current model drives inputs and outputs rather than outcomes and does not drive compliance.

The FSA is seeking views from local authorities and district councils, food business operators, third-party assurance organisations for food safety, professional awarding bodies for environmental health and trading standards, trade unions and other interested groups on the following proposed developments:

  • a modernised food hygiene intervention rating scheme, including a decision matrix, to determine the appropriate frequency of food hygiene controls based on the risk posed by a food business establishment
  • an updated risk-based approach to the timescales for initial official controls of new food establishments, and for undertaking due official controls
  • increased flexibility as to the methods and techniques of official controls that can be used to risk rate an establishment, including the appropriate use of remote assessment
  • extending the activities that officers who do not hold a ‘suitable qualification’ for food hygiene can, if competent, undertake.

The consultation closes on 30 June 2023 and all comments and views should be included in the consultation response form and emailed to

How we can help

If you need any help understanding the law around food safety and hygiene, please contact Richard Naish or any of the other members of the Food and Drink team.