An association for butchers and small abattoirs in England and Wales has updated food hygiene advice.

National Craft Butchers (NCB) has reviewed existing assured advice and launched a food safety management system for butchers.

Since partnering with Horsham District Council in 2013, NCB members have been able to register for a Primary Authority (PA) system and the legally backed food hygiene advice it provides.

Primary Authority enables businesses to form a partnership with one local authority, which then provides assured advice on complying with environmental health and trading standards rules that other regulators must respect.

Developed with Primary Authority partner Horsham District Council, and member advice service, Safer Food Scores, the NCB guide is intended as a reference to ensure compliance and best practice standards are achieved in retail butchery.

Registration for NCB’s Primary Authority system helps businesses with multiple sites, as it reduces the cost of complying with different councils’ interpretations of the law, and ensures consistency across the company, said the association.

Provided firms are following the PA’s assured advice, other local authorities can’t ask them to do something different before speaking to the Primary Authority and getting their agreement. The PA can help to negotiate compliance measures without formal enforcement action.

Aiming for consistent enforcement
NCB’s advice includes a charcuterie section, new parts to cover the diversification of butchers, and updates to regulations.

“This is essential information for butchers throughout England, providing all the information you need to ensure that your business is legally compliant. It offers protection on areas of your trade that environmental health officers (EHO) may not fully understand and will help you train your team,” said Richard Stevenson, NCB trade manager.

“Since NCB formed one of the country’s first coordinated partnerships we have been at the forefront of improving relationships between butchers and their EHOs whilst ensuring our members continue to meet their high standards through legislative changes.”

Currently, Welsh members can get advice but no legal protection. NCB hopes to change this in 2023 via a partnership with a council in Wales.

Health and safety assured advice will be added to the agreement with Horsham District Council and is expected by early summer. A partnership with East Sussex Council will offer members trading standards assured advice. Work will start on guidance to update Natasha’s Law allergen advice and cover all areas of labeling, and composition requirements such as meat content, plus weights and measures.

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