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IFST speaks out about proposed food bill.

IFST Speaks Out About Proposed Food Bill

The Government has recognised the need for new legislation for controlling food businesses.

The Institute of Food Science and Technology has sent proposals to the Minister of Food and to the Minister of Health for a scheme which, if incorporated into the provisions of the forthcoming Food Bill, would achieve the desirable level of control and safety. The IFST believes that many of our current problems are due to insufficient use of technical expertise and inadequate food hygiene training of operatives.

IFST's proposals include:

1) Statutory Qualification

While many food companies employ qualified technical staff, with the growing complexity and increasing use of technology in food production and distribution, it has become essential that all food businesses should have access to a properly trained 'expert'.

As stated in the Government's White Paper - Food Safety: Protecting the Consumer - the public has the right to safe food. While by far the greater proportion of our food production is safe, the public is now aware of certain problems that have recently been publicised, such as an increase in the number of cases of food poisoning.

Whilst the reasons for this increase are not entirely clear-and no doubt there are many-one is certainly poor practice due to insufficient technical expertise or because technical advice is not followed. Furthermore, there is an obvious need for all operatives to be trained in food hygiene.

IFST is strongly urging that legislation should recognise the responsibility of anyone operating a food business to have staff available with adequate training and qualifications to ensure the safety of the food sold.

2) Food Safety Audits

Official inspection of premises and samples cannot guarantee all production and it must be emphasized that the safety and quality of food remains the responsibility of the manufacturer. Together with improved enforcement, IFST has proposed a system whereby enforcement officers act as auditors of the systems of safety and quality established and monitored by qualified technical staff within each food business.

This will encourage the higher levels of efficiency and safety to be gained by 'self-regulation' of a demonstrable level of quality and safety management, and will also allow enforcement officers to concentrate their inspection resources to better effect, eg, to are s where standards are not being met. This will assist in containing the already excessive workload of enforcement officers, particularly in relation to the added pressures which will result from the implementation of European Directive on the Official Inspection of Foodstuffs.

For many food companies such a system would not increase costs, since their procedures already incorporate provisions well beyond the minimum being proposed.

3) Licensing Food Businesses

Whilst IFST supports the Government's intention to register all food premises, it is urging the institution of a licensing system to incorporate specific requirements for the demonstrated competence within the management of a food business. Such a license should be revoked upon conviction of a serious offence.
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Title Annotation:Institute of Food Science Technology seeks further controls and safety in the British food industry
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Oct 1, 1989
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