FSA in Scotland
Last updated on 26 March 2010
Food and feed hygiene on farms in Scotland
Since 2006, there has been legislation in place relating to the hygiene of food and animal feed on farm. The legislation lays out what’s required for good hygiene practice, good animal feeding practice and record keeping in relation to farm activities, which are known as 'primary production'.
Primary production of food includes growing of plant products, stock that is farmed, milk production, egg production, honey production and products obtained by hunting and fishing.
Primary production of feed includes the growing and harvesting of plant products, milking, rearing of animals (prior to slaughter) and fishing for the purpose of animal feed production. Also included are: transport, storage and handling of primary products at the place of production, transport to deliver from the place of production to a processor and mixing of feed for own use without any additives (except silage).
They are required to:
- follow good hygiene practice
- manage operations to control food and feed safety hazards
- keep records relating to food and feed safety and control of hazards
- register as a food and/or feed business with the local authority or check if you qualify via existing registration with a recognised agricultural scheme
An inspection is an enforcement activity that can be used to help food and feed businesses comply with food law. This will help ensure safe food production and provide evidence of a safe export market that is vital to the Scottish agricultural industry. The inspection consists of checking documents and records and assessing farm operations and facilities, such as storage, transport and equipment etc. Records might include feed purchases and sales (invoices are adequate), use of plant protection products, use of veterinary medicines, including withdrawal periods, and pest control.
Inspections are undertaken by authorised officers of either local authorities or the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID), who carry out food and feed hygiene inspections whilst undertaking cross compliance inspections.
An initial inspection of each farm will take place over the next few years (approximately 2,000 per year). The business will then be risk rated, which takes into account compliance with the hygiene regulations and membership of relevant assurance schemes.
Farm assurance scheme standards are there to ensure that consumers and the trade have confidence that produce is of a high standard. Many scheme standards go beyond the legal requirements. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recognises membership of farm assurance schemes in the risk rating and farmers signed up to farm assurance schemes can typically expect to receive inspections at a lower frequency than non-members, although this will also depend on other factors such as inspection outcomes and complaints received.
A two-year pilot is currently underway in Scotland to examine the relationship between membership of assurance schemes and levels of compliance.
As well as local authority officers carrying out hygiene inspections, these officers may also go on farm for animal health and welfare, and weights and measures purposes. In addition to SGRPID officers carrying out cross compliance and hygiene inspections, they are also responsible for, among other things, cattle identification inspections. Animal Health, a government agency, may also go on farm for disease control purposes.
The Agency has:
- Engaged with Scottish Government to reduce the total number of farm inspections. This fits with Scottish Government’s objectives under the Scotland’s Environment and Rural Services (SEARS) project.
- The Agency has trained and authorised SGRPID officers to carry out primary production inspections, whilst carrying out their cross compliance inspections, therefore reducing additional inspections.
- Trained local authority officers are carrying out food and feed primary production inspections at the same time.
- A Scottish Primary Production Enforcement Working Group meets throughout the year to discuss the implementation of on-farm food and feed hygiene enforcement. Industry is represented by National Farmers Union Scotland and the Scottish Crofting Federation.