The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), have finalised agreements that further extend earned recognition to the animal feed sector. This will reduce the number of inspections for certain feed businesses, based on risk.
The revised Feed Law Code of Practice (England), which was published in May, includes a new measures that recognises feed businesses that can demonstrate a good history of compliance or are compliant members of an approved industry assurance scheme. This means these businesses will qualify for a reduced frequency of inspection.
This change will help reduce the burden of inspections on feed businesses, and ensure that inspections are focused more on high-risk areas of the sector.
The Feed Law Code of Practice is awaiting approval in Wales, and in Northern Ireland changes will be implemented through a memorandum of understanding between the FSA and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. A new code for Scotland will be developed in conjunction with the new Scottish food body.
Working with the VMD, the FSA has partnered with the the trade association Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) to approve the following schemes in the UK:
- Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS)
- Feed Materials Assurance Scheme (FEMAS)
- Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops (TASCC)
To further apply earned recognition to the farming sector, the FSA has partnered with Red Tractor to approve the following schemes in England and Wales:
- Beef and Lamb Scheme
- Dairy Scheme
- Crops and Sugar Beet Scheme
- Pigs and Poultry Schemes
The FSA has established robust governance arrangements to assess, approve and monitor assurance schemes. The monitoring process will include local authorities inspecting a sample group of assurance scheme members and feeding back to the FSA.
The FSA will also continue to explore earned recognition arrangements with other feed industry assurance schemes and the wider development of earned recognition in both the feed and food sectors based on risk.
The head of the local delivery division at the FSA, John Barnes, said compliant businesses could significantly benefit from earned recognition.
“The move will see them have fewer inspections and save the time and costs associated with those inspections,” he added.
“Earned recognition takes account of feed business operators’ own checks and levels of compliance – we’re pleased to announce that assurance schemes operated by AIC and Red Tractor that we have partnered will provide the dual benefit of recognising compliance and reducing the burden of inspection on businesses.”