IFST insists that food safety is not only for the big players

Monday, 16 July, 2007

There is a proposed an amendment to that EC Food Hygiene Regulation (EC) 852/2004 which would exempt food businesses with fewer than ten employees from the requirement for food safety management procedures based on HACCP principles.

The proposal arises from the European Commission's Strategic Review of Better Regulation [COM(2006) 689 final] in the European Union, which includes a proposal to reduce the administrative burdens on business by 25% by 2012.

The Institute of Food Science & Technology has released a Policy Statement in response stating: "The Institute expresses strong objection to the proposed exemption. While we appreciate that very small food businesses do not have resources of the size and extent that large businesses have and while in general we support efforts to minimise the administrative burden on business and particularly small businesses, this must never be at the expense of food safety."

"Furthermore, HACCP correctly applied is, and should be seen as, an aid to business, not a burden. Small food businesses are numerous, between them provide a significant proportion of food consumed and moreover include high risk businesses with a less than adequate record of controlling hazards."

For example, in the UK a significant proportion of all reported food poisoning outbreaks originate in catering premises which include precisely the kind of businesses that would become exempt from implementing and operating HACCP-based procedures if the proposal were to be adopted.

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