The Food Law Code of Practice recognises that food businesses manufacturing high-risk ready-to-eat foods present a greater inherent risk. Butchers selling raw meat and producing ready-to-eat foods on-site would fall within this category. The fact that the ready-to-eat foods are often sold and consumed a number of days after production is one factor that leads to this greater inherent risk, alongside the potential for cross-contamination after production and before consumption. Consequently, bespoke and more detailed food safety management procedures are required in such establishments to ensure the production of safe food, and to comply with food law. Safer food better business is not considered to provide appropriate procedures in such establishments.
Local authorities should carefully evaluate whether any such establishments under their control require their input over and above that determined by the Food Law Code of Practice.
It is acknowledged that the same course of action will not be appropriate for all such establishments and that any additional input will relate to the confidence that the authority’s officers have in the controls in place at such businesses. The precise nature of any visit will vary and will be influenced by the business’s history of compliance, particularly with Article 5 of EC regulation 852/2004. If any additional visits are considered appropriate or necessary they may include:
- a focused visit to ensure the appropriateness and implementation of documented food safety management procedures, and include an audit element
- an assessment of the business’s adherence to the FSA’s guidance on controlling the risk of cross-contamination by E.coli O157
- follow up action to address issues of non compliance