Food Law Practice Guidance

Last updated:
9 October 2015
The FSA has published the revised Food Law Practice Guidance. Details of the main changes are available.

Changes published in 2015

Chapter 1 - Preface

This Practice Guidance is issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to assist Competent Authorities with the discharge of their statutory duty to enforce relevant food law. It is non-statutory, complements the statutory Code of Practice, and provides general advice on approach to enforcement of the law where its intention might be unclear.

Competent Authorities should be aware that law relating to food is not necessarily made under the Food Safety Act 1990.  Law that applies to food is also contained in and/or made under, the Animal Health Act 1981, the European Communities Act 1972, the Consumer Protection Act 1987, the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, and directly under EC Regulations.

Competent Authority officers authorised under Section 5(6) of the Food Safety Act 1990 to carry out duties under that Act and Regulations made under it are not automatically authorised to deal with food law under other legislation. Separate authorisation in respect of other legislation is also required e.g. legislation made under the European Communities Act 1972, including the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 [1] and the Official Feed and Food Controls (England) Regulations 2009, under which officers may be generally or specially authorised.

This guidance updates all previous guidance issued with the Code of Practice (the Code).

Material in the previous guidance has been reviewed and updated to take account of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, the Official Feed and Food Controls (England) Regulations 2009 and relevant EU Regulations.

This Practice Guidance also takes account of recommendations made by the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) following their inspections of the UK’s food control services.

Competent Authorities should be aware that Article 8(5) of Regulation 852/2004 stipulates that guides to good practice (known in the UK as “Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice”) drawn up under Directive 93/43/EEC shall continue to apply after the entry into force of this Regulation, provided that they are compatible with its objectives. The general spirit of the Regulation anticipates that guides to good practice be followed.

Attention is drawn to the guidance on the scope and conduct of official checks on establishments subject to approval under Regulation 853/2004.

References to chapters and paragraphs are to the relevant parts of this document unless stated otherwise.

The guidance contained in this document is given in good faith, and accords with the FSA’s understanding of relevant legal requirements.

It should not, however, be taken as an authoritative statement or interpretation of the law as only the Courts have that power. Any examples given are illustrative and not comprehensive.

Competent Authorities are strongly advised to consult their own legal departments when considering formal enforcement action.


[1] SI 2013 No 2996

Chapter 6 – Enforcement Sanctions and Penalties