FSA publishes new Food Law Code of Practice

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In March 2021, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) 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, following consultations in November and December 2020. The Codes provide statutory guidance to local authorities and port health authorities on the approach they should take to regulate food businesses. You can access the Codes here.

The key changes to the Codes 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.

The FSA stated that it had reviewed and revised the Codes to ensure that they reflect current priorities, policy, and legislative requirements and so that delivery of food control activities by local authorities and port health authorities remains effective, consistent, and proportionate.