The FSA issues guidance to firms across the food industry and the review's principle objective to find out whether this assistance is delivered in a coordinated, understandable way. Guidance attempts to ensure firms comply with food safety and other regulations designed to protect the public. Philip Clarke, head of the FSA's regulation and consultation branch, announcing the review, said it is part of the effort to make to compliance with regulations easier for businesses, which will benefit everyone overall. "We want to look at whether the guidance imposes unnecessary burdens on business, as well as the benefits of assisting businesses to comply with the law," he said. Bomel Consultants, which is conducting the review for the FSA, will be contacting firms to gather information on the experiences businesses have when receiving and complying with guidance. The review will also be examining whether any current guidance goes beyond the law, thereby placing unnecessary burdens and costs on companies attempting to comply. One issue the FSA wants to address is the impact of different approaches to the production of guidance in the four countries of the UK. Country-based FSA offices do issue guidance at a local level and the review is an attempt to reassure businesses across the UK that these are not only in line with EU regulations, but are also aligned to those followed by other domestic competitors. The Agency is interested in the potential burdens these may add businesses in trading across the UK and abroad. "We shall discuss the impact of our guidance with key stakeholders and report the findings in this year's Simplification Plan," Clarke said. Bomel Consultants should conclude its review by September, with the results to be reported as part of the FSA's 2007-08 Simplifacation Plan, issued later this year.
The UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today announced the start of a review of its own guidance, which aims to make regulations easier to understand and follow for firms.