The FSA has said consumers have a right to information to help them make informed choices about food and businesses must be transparent and honest in the provision of this.
The FSA recognises the variation in types and size of food businesses and accepts that there needs to be different levels of support and scrutiny for different businesses.
In the past, enforcement mainly consisted of inspections and little else. However, in the future it will be necessary for regulators to take into account and review all available sources of information to determine compliance.
This is the beginning of something called “earned recognition” where information from other sources can be used by regulators such as local authority Environmental Health Practitioners. For example, third party audits already carried out for businesses by food safety consultancies could provide data, together with information from consumers and other regulators. The aim is to avoid repetitive audits and share data.
The idea is that businesses that are well managed should be recognised, and poor businesses who put consumers at risk receive greater scrutiny. In other words, limited local authority resources will focus on those businesses that are not complying.
A further principle is that businesses should meet the cost of regulation, and those needing the greatest regulatory intervention should therefore contribute the most.