FSA gets set to introduce new audit system

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) plans to launch its new audit system for meat plants in August 2014, subject to approval at its next board meeting on 23 July.

Members are due to discuss the review of audit arrangements in FSA-approved meat establishments in the UK, following the closure of its consultation on plans, which ended in May. One of the key areas of change is that Food Business Operator (FBO) audits will be carried out by appropriately skilled auditors, independent of the day-to-day official controls within the plant.

The changes to the system will also see the number of auditors reduced from more than 300 part-time auditors to a dedicated team of 22. The frequency of audits for good-performing establishments has also been extended from 12 months to 18 months.

The report by Andrew Rhodes, chief operating officer, FSA, stated that there were no major issues raised in the public consultation. However, while industry stakeholders had given positive feedback on the new proposals, concerns had been raised about the reporting line of the FBO audit team. The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) and British Poultry Council were now content with the structure, but the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) continued to demand a change to the teams reporting line, said the FSA.

At the meeting later this month the board will also be asked to agree to provide an update on the new system, six months after implementation.

For the full story, see the next issue of Meat Trades Journal, published this Friday (18 July)

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