Change of food business operator: approval of establishments

If your food business is approved by the FSA but changes food business operator (FBO), it will need a new approval before your business can carry out approvable activities.

However, the new FBO can continue to operate under the existing approval for a short period of time, but not exceeding a maximum of four weeks after the change of FBO, until a new assessment is carried out.

This approach, which follows consultation with stakeholders, is on the condition that:

  • The new FBO submits an application for a new approval to the FSA Approvals Team within one calendar week of the change of FBO. If no application is received within one calendar week, the FSA will formally notify the FBO that the approval is no longer in force and all approvable activity must stop.
  • In order to safeguard public health, the new FBO must not make significant changes to the food safety control arrangements or activities being carried out at the premises.
  • FBOs give the FSA as much notice as possible of a potential change in FBO.

The FSA must re-assess for approval all establishments that have changed FBO since 2006 and have not subsequently been re-approved.

The approval assessment will be undertaken as soon as possible, and in all cases within three weeks of receiving an approval application from the new FBO. This timescale, however, only starts once the change of FBO has occurred.

In planning for a change of FBO, a pre-change advisory assessment can be provided by the FSA to help identify any potential issues that may cause a problem in getting a new approval. This is by no means a guarantee that approval will be granted following a new approval assessment, and will require the co-operation of the existing FBO.

The attached guidance and example scenarios explains in more detail how the FSA will implement this process in slaughterhouses, meat cutting plants, game handling establishments and on-farm slaughter facilities. A summary of the FSA’s consultation with interested parties is also attached. Other competent authorities across the UK, which are responsible for the approval of food/feed establishments, have been asked to take a similar approach for establishments for which they have enforcement responsibility.

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