FSANI in Consultation Regarding Food Traceability Amendments

October 9, 2012

The Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland (FSANI) is currently engaged in a consultation with stakeholders concerning amendments to the present traceability requirements for food of animal origin.

The changes will affect Food Business Operators (FBOs), who represent a considerable section of Northern Ireland’s economy. The changes will affect businesses right along the food supply chain, from farmers to supermarkets.

The traceability requirements are set out in Article 18 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, which is given effect in Northern Ireland by the General Food Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004. The Regulation obliges FBOs to have in place the means to identify:

1. who has supplied them with a food; and

2. other businesses to whom they have supplied food, up to the point of sale to the final customer.

The aim of the Regulation is to minimise disruption to businesses in the event of a food safety problem by allowing targeted withdrawal of foods from the market.

In order to clarify what information FBOs are required to have to satisfy Regulation EC No 178/2002, the European Commission has made Regulation (EU) No 931/2011. It specifies that FBOs must hold the following information:

 a description of the food
 the quantity
 the name and address of the FBO who dispatched the food
 details of the consignor, if different from the supplier
 name and address of the FBO to whom the food is being supplied to
 the consignee if different (the consignor/consignee could be a food broker)
 an identifying lot, batch or consignment number (it is for the FBO to decide what constitutes a lot, batch or consignment)
 the date of dispatch

While the regulation was being drafted, the United Kingdom Government negotiated to avoid burdens upon business, such as the need to keep records for given periods and the need to produce records in real time. FSANI therefore estimates that businesses will feel only a negligible financial impact while familiarising themselves with the Regulation, and that it will be cost-neutral for food business operators (FBOs) to implement. The purpose of the consultation is to see if businesses agree with this assessment, and to make FBOs aware of the revised requirements. Given that the information insisted upon will be determinable from companies’ audit systems, this assessment may well be correct, and the regulation should not cause undue and undue burden upon FBOs.

Details of the consultation process may be found at http://www.food.gov.uk/newsupdates/consultations/consultations-northern-ireland/2012/animalorigni

 

Please note: The content of this article is for information purposes only and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor before any action is taken.

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