Slaughterhouses and “cutting plants” in the United Kingdom will not be able to operate while appeals are pending over decisions to deny or withdraw approvals to operate.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has proposed the rule change in amendments now pending to the official Feed and Food Control regulations.

Public comment on the changes to the regulations will be accepted until Dec. 10.

The FSA Board decided at its meeting in July 2010 to consult on suggestions to amend the legislation that currently allows slaughterhouses and cutting plant operators to continue to operate while an appeal against the refusal or withdrawal of approval is pending.

Under EU legislation, businesses that produce products of animal origin must be registered or, where appropriate, approved by the competent authority before they can sell food. The FSA is the competent authority for the approval of slaughterhouses, cutting plants and game handling establishments. Local authorities are the competent authority with respect to other approved premises.

If a food business operator’s application for approved is refused or withdrawn, the business can appeal that decision. Under current regulations, the business can continue to operate, pending the outcome of the appeal.

The Agency is proposing to remove this right to continue to operate while the appeal process is underway because of concerns about the risk to public health. This change would bring the regulations in line with EU law.

Comments may be sent to: Rufina Acheampong; Enforcement and Local Authority Delivery Division
; Food Standards Agency
; Floor 5B
Aviation House; 
125 Kingsaway
; London
WC2B 6NH.  (Phone): 0207 276 8321 (Fax): 0207 276 8447 (Email)

In a statement, FSA provided this question and answer (Q&A) as further background:

Who will likely be most interested in commenting on these changes?

Meat establishment operators under veterinary control and local authorities in England, including those involved in feed and food businesses.

What is the subject of this consultation? 

The Official Feed and Food Controls (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011.

What is the purpose of this consultation?

This Statutory Instrument (SI) will update the Official Feed and Food Controls (England) Regulations 2009.The proposed amendment to the regulations would remove the right of food business operators to continue to operate, pending the outcome of an appeal against decisions by the FSA/food authority to refuse or withdraw the approval of those establishments handling products of animal origin, for which approval is required under EU legislation.

Comments on the draft Official Feed and Food Controls (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 are welcomed.  More information is available on FSA’s website.