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Audit Arrangements in UK Meat Plants Reviewed

04 March 2014

UK - The British Food Standards Agency has launched a consultation to review audit arrangements in approved meat establishments, including slaughterhouses, cutting plants and game handling establishments.

The FSA worked closely with the meat industry to put together the proposal for consultation and is seeking views from any interested parties before Friday 16 May 2014.

The current audit system for FSA approved meat establishments was introduced in January 2006, with the introduction of the EC Food Hygiene legislation.

While refinements have been made to the system over the years, we believe that it is now appropriate to undertake a more fundamental review of effectiveness.

The FSA Board discussed audit arrangements in September 2013, as part of wider considerations on compliance in the meat industry [FSA 13/09/06], and, acknowledging concerns raised by industry representatives, there was support for early improvements to strengthen audit arrangements.

Flexibilities within the EU legislative framework have been considered to inform proposals, with consideration of official control audit systems in other Member States and third countries, including scoring, frequency of audit, and patterns of visits.

A UK-wide review of audit arrangements has been carried out on basis (following the FSA Board meeting in September 2013) with consideration towards the differences within each of the four countries – including that meat official controls delivered by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland on the FSA’s behalf, and the establishment of the National Food Body in Scotland, in April 2015 - potentially influencing how changes might be implemented in these countries.

There are 1,401 approved meat establishments in GB and 59 in Northern Ireland

The FSA worked with industry to carry out this review and to ensure that the proposed new audit system is proportionate and risk-based, and that the process is understandable, transparent and effective.

The consultation proposes to change the compliance ratings and descriptions used throughout the audit process, it also proposes to change how audit frequency is determined to recognise good business performance and allow, where appropriate, the extension of audit periods where effective control systems are in place.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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