UK publishes first good hygiene guide

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food, Food safety, Food standards agency

The UK has published its first industry good hygiene practice
guide, part of a series intended to help manufacturers comply with
new EU-wide regulations on food safety.

The guide, produced by the Mail Order Fine Foods Association (MOFFA), sets out recommended methods by which operators may comply with the hygiene regulations. It has been officially recognised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The package of five new EU laws, which replaced 14 different directives on 1 January 2006, sets down more harmonised rules on the hygiene of foodstuffs. The legislation also required the development of national guides to good hygiene practice and the application of hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) principles. The guides are being developed by individual food sector associations and regulators. Food processors may choose to use recognised good practice guides to help them comply with the requirements of the hygiene regulations and related measures. When a food business follows the advice in a recognised guide, the enforcement authority must take this into account when assessing compliance with the regulations. The MOFFA guide covers the sale of all perishable foods by mail order, when delivery to the final consumer is in an un-refrigerated vehicle. The organisation said the main aim of the guide is to provide practical advice on the best ways of complying with the requirements in Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 and the temperature requirements of the Food Hygiene (England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland) Regulations 2006. The use of the guide by businesses is voluntary, the FSA stated. All guides are being published by The Stationary Office. "However, the agency hopes it will prove useful to industry in meeting legal food hygiene obligations, as well as ensuring that high standards are achieved in food safety,"​ the FSA stated. Guides for other sectors are being developed and will become available during 2007, the FSA stated. Some industries already have good practice guides in existence and are now updating them to reflect the changes in the hygiene laws. These include ones being produced by the Automatic Vending Association, the Sea Fish Industry Authority, the National Association of British & Irish Millers, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, the British Soft Drink Association, the British Hospitality Association, the British Retail Consortium, the National Association of British Market Authorities, the National Farmers' Union, the Scottish Whisky Association, Dairy UK, the Specialist Cheese Makers Association, the Federation of Bakers, the Chamber of Shipping, and the Fresh Produce Consortium. The European Commission has also developed EU-wide guides on the legislation to serve as general references to the national ones. An online EU register kept for reference purposes shows that about 45 new national guides were listed as official in 2006. Guides published in 2006 include ones from Belgium's Fédération Nationale des Bouchers and the Charcutiers et Traiteurs de Belgique. The Czech food industry registered 21 guides in 2006, including the Guides to Good Hygiene and Manufacture Practice for Mill Products. The register also includes a current list of 13 UK guides that are dated as having being published between 1997 and 2004, depending on the industry sector.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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