Regulating Our Future

‘Regulating Our Future’ (ROF) and preparing for EU Exit are our two overriding priorities.
Regulating our future

We want to improve the way we deliver regulatory controls for food and create a modern, risk-based, proportionate, robust and resilient system.

The current system of regulation has been in place for more than 30 years and has served consumers well. But it hasn’t kept pace with technological change in the food industry, and is not flexible enough to adapt to the changing environment.

The existing ‘one size fits all’ approach to regulating food businesses is ill-suited to the incredibly diverse nature of the industry. In recent years, we have witnessed large numbers of new players enter the global food and food safety landscape; for example, online retailers, food delivery services, private auditors, independent food safety certification schemes.

However the current regulatory approach doesn’t allow us easily to focus our effort on changing risks. For the UK to continue to be a strong, credible player in the global food economy, the regulatory regime needs to keep pace with rapid changes in that economy. Leaving the EU will change patterns of food production, trade and consumption, emphasising the need for a flexible and responsive regulatory system.

The changes we are planning can’t all be delivered at once, and not all of them are in the hands of the FSA alone. That means that we need to take interim, progressive steps that will enable us to reassure consumers and support the food industry from day one of being outside the EU.

What will the new regulatory model for food look like?

We’ve developed a blueprint to describe our ambition and ideas, at a very high level. We have been testing this blueprint, and the more detailed design of our overall approach, using an open policy making approach. This has involved everyone working in food – from consumer groups to private assurance scheme owners, local authorities to food businesses (of all sizes), food regulators in other countries to non-food regulators in the UK. We have identified best practice and lessons learned by others to enable us to develop the best possible regulatory model for food. We have undertaken some feasibility studies to test ideas and approaches, and learned from them; we will continue to do this and to trial ideas in real time as we get into more and more detailed development of the new regime. 

Our Principles

  • Businesses are responsible for producing food that is safe and what it says it is, and should be able to demonstrate that they do so. Consumers have a right to information to help them make informed choices about the food they buy – businesses have a responsibility to be transparent and honest in their provision of that information.
  • FSA and regulatory partners’ decisions should be tailored, proportionate and based on a clear picture of UK food businesses.
  • The regulator should take into account all available sources of information.
  • Businesses doing the right thing for consumers should be recognised; action will be taken against those that do not.
  • Businesses should meet the costs of regulation, which should be no more than they need to be. 

Target Operating Model

We’re working with a range of partners including local authorities, food businesses of all sizes and consumers to develop the new regulatory model for food safety and standards across the food chain. Coming out of those workshops and consultations we have set out the below target operating model, which has led to the publication of our Regulating Our Future position paper: 

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How to get involved

While we have set ourselves a target of 2020 for the whole system to be designed, we will be implementing improvements to the system in two phases, the first in preparation for EU Exit, and the second will be the delivery post EU Exit. 

We want to continue to listen to the views of those with an interest in food standards and safety and to capture the insights and knowledge that already exists in an open and transparent way.

You can sign up to receive updates and communication from the ROF programme, through our regular Regulating Our Future newsletter, using the link on the right hand side of this page.

Or contribute to the discussion by joining the conversation #FoodRegulation or emailing us directly: FutureDelivery@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

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