The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has invited comments from industry on proposals to overhaul food inspections across Europe, including how they are funded.
The regulatory revision is intended to simplify and create a more consistent approach to official controls and the FSA says it is likely to affect all those involved in the food production and supply chain.
“Industry will be particularly interested in the proposed change to the way official controls are funded,” it says.
According to the FSA, the proposals would mean a major increase in the number of inspections subject to mandatory charging. At the moment, member states can decide how much of the cost of controls they recover from industry, with certain exceptions where minimum charges are set in legislation.
Under the proposed plans, member states would be expected to recover the full cost from industry.
“This means that businesses that are currently charged for controls could see them increase or decrease, while businesses that are not currently charged may have to start paying for controls,” the FSA said.
The proposals also include an exemption for very small businesses, defined as those that employ fewer than 10 people with a turnover of less than €2m.
When the agency last discussed the proposed changes to EU Regulation 882/2004 back in 2011, it also acknowledged that the changes would put an end to a system that actually discourages food business operators from taking full responsibility for implementing official controls.
The changes aim to make the system fairer and more cost effective and ensure a higher level of consumer protection across Europe.
Industry comments will help form a government response to the proposals, the FSA said.
Information on how to respond is available by clicking here .