Food Safety Management Procedures

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Food Safety Management Procedures

Food Safety Management Procedures

Food Safety Act 1990

The Act was introduced partly in response to the spate of food scares that occurred during the 1980s, reflecting the need for a unified, Europe-wide system of food law enforcement which the Act is designed to achieve. Wide-ranging in scope and effect, it covers food from source (e.g. a field of barley; an apple orchard), to the point of final sale for consumption and all stages in-between. The terms "farm to fork" and "plough to plate" have entered common usage to emphasise the need for effective controls down the whole food chain.

The Act's definition of food includes such items as drink, water and items with no nutritional value (e.g. food colour), but has several specific exemptions. These include live animals (but not those normally eaten raw, such as oysters), animal fodder and certain drugs.

The Act also has provision to cope with new developments in the food industry, like genetically engineered products, and new European Union legislation.

Offences under the Act are divided into food safety and consumer protection provisions. These are dealt with by the criminal courts, as are contraventions of the Regulations and other statutory instruments in force. Many of the powers were not new, but were strengthened and supplemented by others - some of which are similar to those available under the Health and Safety at Work etc.

Act, 1974. These include the Improvement Notice - requiring certain works to be carried out; and the Emergency Prohibition Notice - allowing immediate closure of all or part of a food business if there is imminent risk to health.

Three defences are available under the Act :

1. That the offence was the fault of another person.

2. That the offence was due to publication in course of business.

3. That the person involved took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence.

The latter is the most important and effectively makes it possible to gain an acquittal even if facts presented to the court show that an offence has been committed (the "due diligence defence").

In addition to the Act, two sets of Regulations came into force on the 15th September 1995, replacing the previous sets covering food hygiene and temperature control of food. A series of guidance books, the Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice, has been published to accompany the Regulations and assist in their interpretation - one is specifically for catering. Environmental Health Officers will give due consideration to the Guides when assessing compliance with the Regulations.

Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995

These are the UK implementation of the Council Directive 93/43/EEC on the hygiene of foodstuffs; and also part of Council Directive 80/778/EEC on the use of water for food production. They apply to all stages of the food chain after primary production, but do not cover temperature control of food which are contained in the Regulations summarised later. Both revoke or amend 30 sets of Regulations previously in force throughout the ...
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