Greater Value For UK Farm Assurance

UK - News that farm assured pig farmers are facing a reduced level of statutory inspections for food safety and hygiene, is a major fillip to the pig industry says the British Pig Executive (BPEX).
calendar icon 8 June 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

This pragmatic risk-based approach is the direct result of the industry working together with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and local authorities. The FSA's announcement - a lower frequency of food hygiene inspections by Local Authorities for assured pig units - will reduce the burden on farm businesses, local authorities, and tax payers.

This announcement follows the introduction, in January 2006, of new EU legislation (Regulation EC 852/2002) on the hygiene of foodstuffs which required food safety and hygiene inspections to be extended to primary producers - including pig farms for the first time.

The new inspection scheme promotes an enforcement system based upon risk, and by using the evidence from farm assurance scheme membership, this has reduced the burden on industry and enforcers, enabling resources to be focussed on targeting potentially high-risk premises.

BPEX Chief Executive Mick Sloyan said: This is saving farmers time and offering improved bio-security because there will be fewer visitors coming onto each unit.

"This move is a direct recognition of the high standards to which farm assured units already operate and demonstrates another benefit of being assured.

"Farm assurance is a vital link in the Quality Standard Mark chain. It is based on integrated whole chain assurance from farm to finished product all subject to independent audit to recognised international standards.

"I hope this principle of risk-based regulation can be extended to other areas of the pig production and processing industry in the near future.

The FSA estimates total savings each year will be around £500,000 (in saved time) for the farming industry and £2 million for local authorities across the UK.

Philip Clarke, Head of the FSA's Better Regulation and Consultation Branch, said: "The Agency is firmly committed to reducing regulatory burdens, while still maintaining the highest levels of consumer protection.

"The initiative will help focus inspections and make regulations simpler - this will benefit farmers, local authorities, and consumers - as we believe making compliance with the law simpler will increase levels of compliance."

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