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EU hygiene legislation extended to farms

By Ahmed ElAmin , 04-Dec-2006

The EU completes the food safety link from farm to fork on 1 January 2007, when new hygiene legislation is extended to farms, in most cases for the first time.

The new requirements for farms come into effect this coming January as part of a policy to introduce traceability throughout the whole food chain.

The farm requirements are part of a package of five laws introduced by the EU on 1 January 2006 and which merged, harmonised and simplified complex food hygiene requirements that had been scattered over seventeen EU directives.

In the UK local authorities with responsibilities relating to animal health and feeding stuffs on farms are expected to begin enforcing the new requirements with effect from 1 December 2007, the Food Standards Agency (FSA)stated in a notice. The early application of the rules is meant to ensure the UK has all thecontrols in place by the EU deadline for implementing the rules.

Under the UK's arrangements the laws are applied under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.The regulation sets out the division of enforcement responsibilities between local food authorities and the Food Standards Agency(FSA). The agency's responsibility is for enforcement carried out by the Dairy Hygiene Inspectorate and the Egg Marketing Inspectorate.Local food authorities are responsible for all other enforcement.

In relation to actual workings of the local food authorities, the FSA ended public consultationon 20 November over proposed arrangements. The FSA said it is still considering the points made in response to theconsultation.

"It is expected that this role will be performed by county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan borough councils and London boroughs, reflectingenforcement responsibilities relating to animal health and feeding stuffs on farms," theFSA stated.