Select Committee on Food Standards First Report



MEMORANDA LAID BEFORE THE FOOD STANDARDS COMMITTEE

MEMORANDUM 1

Submitted by the Joint Food Safety and Standards Group

APPLICATION OF THE FOOD PREMISES (REGISTRATION) REGULATIONS 1991 TO MARKET STALLS AND MOBILE FOOD PREMISES

MARKET STALLS

  Schedule 1 to the Regulations set out the requirements in respect of market stalls. These are:

    —  Where a market stall is provided by the controller of the market, and used within the market, it is the controller who must register. (The controller must register the whole market and the stall is included in that registration.) The person using the stall does not have to register separately.

    —  If a trader uses, within a market, any (moveable) stall other than one provided by the controller of the market, the trader must register the stall at the place where it is normally kept, whether this is a warehouse, private home, or anywhere else. A trader is not required to notify each local authority covering the area of the market(s) where he/she operates. A trader using a fixed stall at a market must register it there. The market controller should also register the whole market.

Mobile food premises

  Schedule 3 to the Regulations sets out the requirements in respect of all mobile food premises other than market stalls, including burger vans, ice cream sellers, and so on.

    —  Mobile premises used in connection with a food business operating from permanent premises must be registered as part of that business—for example a baker running a number of delivery vans from a bakery must register the bakery, and use the registration form to notify the local authority of the number of delivery vans used.

    —  Mobile premises not used in connection with a food business operating from permanent premises must be registered where they are usually kept, whether this is a warehouse, private house or anywhere else. The number of vehicles used by each business must be notified to the local authority on the registration form. Burger or hot dog vans are examples of this kind of operation. Traders using such mobile premises are not required to notify each local authority where they ply their trade.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR WATER

  Water is included in the definition of "food" in Part I of the Food Safety Act 1990. Regulatory controls under that Act do not apply to the general supply of tap water (see sections 55 and 56 of the FSA 1990). The Agency's major interest in tap water will thus concern water used in food production, for example by food manufacturers/processors or in restaurants. Broad responsibility for the supply of wholesome waste water will remain the responsibility of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and its opposite numbers in Scotland, Wales and Northern ireland. Legal requirements in respect of drinking water are set in the Water Industry Act 1991, the Water (Scotland) Act 1980 and the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1973, as amended, and will continue to be enforced by the Drinking Water Inspectorate in England and Wales and their equivalents in Scotland and Northern Ireland. This legislation is based on the requirements of Council Directive 80/778/EEC relating to the quality of water intended for human consumption.

  The Agency will take responsibility for the safety, composition and labelling of bottled water and natural mineral water. These products are presently regulated by the Drinking Water in Containers Regulations 1994 (made under the Food Safety Act 1990), which implement EU Council Directive 80/778/EEC for bottled water, and the Natural Mineral Waters Regulations 1985 which implement EU Council Directive 80/777/EEC relating to the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters. However, these will shortly be replaced by the Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water Regulations which are in draft form. The new Regulations implement Council Directive 96/70/EC which amends 80/777/EEC.

Food premises used only occasionally

  Regulation 2 of the Registration regulations specifically exempts from registration requirements all food premises which operate for fewer than five days, in total, in any consecutive five-week period. Thus premises which operate on a weekly basis are subject to the registration requirements, as are arrangements of a seasonal nature which operate for five days or more over five weeks. This reflects the intention to identify regular operators but to exclude premises operating occasionally or on a one-off basis, for example at some sporting events.

March 1999


APPENDIX 2

THE CURRENT PESTICIDES REGULATORY PROCESS

  The aims of the Pesticides Safety Directorate are to:

    —  protect the health of human beings, creatures and plants;

    —  safeguard the environment;

    —  secure, safe, efficient and human methods of pest control.

  In order to achieve its aims, PSD works in close collaboration with a number of other Government Departments and Agencies (including Health, Environment, Transport and the Regions, Scotland and Wales).

  The Directorate provides support for two Committees with which the Department of Health and the Joint Food Standards and Safety Group (JFSSG) are closely involved:

    —  The Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) is an independent Committee providing advice to Ministers in the regulatory Departments on the approval and review of pesticides.

    —  The Working Party on Pesticide Residues (WPPR) monitors both home-produced and imported food for a wide range of pesticide residues.

  In advising Ministers, the ACP evaluates substantial data dossiers covering, amongst other things, safety in use of a pesticide and residues.

    —  Dossiers are scrutinised by independent experts in areas such as medicine, environmental matters, clinical toxicology and carcinogenicity.

    —  The recommendations are considered by five Departments.

    —  All approved pesticides are subject to routine review and to special review if circumstances require.

  The WPPR (which is to be renamed the Pesticides Residues Committee) undertakes on behalf of the Government an annual residues surveillance programme.

    —  All results are published on an annual basis free of charge.

    —  Monitoring is targeted to where residues are most likely to be found.

    —  Lay members have recently been appointed to both the ACP and WPPR.

  The national arrangements for authorising pesticides are running in parallel to the emerging EU arrangements. The EU systems of approvals and reviews will gradually replace the national arrangements over a period of time.


APPENDIX 3

PESTICIDE REGULATION: FUTURE LINKS WITH THE FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY

  The pesticides regulatory process is already a joint effort with DH, DETR and the territorial Departments. The Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) has a central role in offering advice to Ministers on the approval or revocation of pesticides.

  The FSA will be closely involved with the ACP through:

    —  the appointment of an expert member nominated by the FSA;

    —  the appointment of an assessor to advise the Committee and to consider recommendations on behalf of the Agency;

    —  consultation on the appointment of the Chairman and members.

  It is proposed that pesticides residues surveillance will remain with PSD. However, FSA will be fully involved in questions of membership, the work programme and the reporting or results of the Pesticides Residues Committee (PRC) (which will replace the Working Party on Pesticide Residues).

  Proposals currently under consideration for the PRC envisage that:

    —  The FSA will be involved in the appointment of the Chairman and members of the PRC;

    —  The FSA will attend meetings of the PRC to act as advisers on the programme and its findings;

    —  The FSA will be involved in the preparation of the annual report and any special interim reports which the PRC may publish.

  The Food Standards Agency will also provide a member for the ownership Board of the Pesticides Safety Directorate.


APPENDIX 4

AUTHORISATION AND POLICY ON VETERINARY MEDICINES

  The Licensing Authority for veterinary medicines in the UK is the Health and Agriculture Ministers.

  The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is responsible to the Licensing Authority for:

    —  the regulation of veterinary medicines and medicinal feed additives;

    —  monitoring of suspected adverse reactions;

    —  advice on veterinary medicine policy.

  Independent expert advice to the Licensing Authority on the safety, quality and efficacy of veterinary medicines and on suspected adverse reactions is provided by the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC).

    —  Two lay members with consumer expertise sit on the VPC.

  The draft Food Standards Bill provides for:

    —  an expert member to be nominated to the VPC by the Food Standards Agency (FSA);

    —  FSA officials to advise the VPC on issues related to food safety;

    —  FSA to have the right to put its own advice to Ministers if it does not consider the VPC's advice properly reflects its concerns;

    —  FSA to publish its advice if necessary.

  See Annex 1 for diagrammatical description of the authorisation process.

POLICY ON VETERINARY MEDICINES

  FSA will be consulted on all policy advice and proposals for legislation which has food safety implications.

  FSA will be consulted on all EU and other international negotiations.

  FSA will be able to put its own advice to Ministers and publish it as necessary.

    —  FSA will contribute to the production of an annual report to the EU Commission and in drafting for publication an annual report of the results from the surveillance programmes;

    —  FSA may choose to conduct its own surveillance programmes.

  See Annex 2 for a diagrammatical description of the residues surveillance process.


RESIDUES SURVEILLANCE

  The VMD is responsible to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for surveillance of residues of veterinary medicines in meat and animal products.

    —  the statutory programme to meet EU requirements involves testing of some 35,000 samples each year;

    —  the non-statutory programme covers some 1,500 substances and products not included in the statutory programme on which almost 9,000 analyses are carried out;

    —  results are published quarterly in the Medicines Act Veterinary Information Service and in the Annual Report on Residues Surveillance;

    —  preliminary results for 1998 indicate that 99.6 per cent of samples are free of detectable residues of veterinary medicines.

  Advice on the residues surveillance programme currently provided by the Advisory Group on Veterinary Residues (AGVR) which includes a consumer member.

  Under proposed new arrangements:

    —  FSA will be closely involved in the appointment of members of an independent Veterinary Residues Committee to replace the AGVR;

    —  FSA will be closely involved in drafting residues surveillance plans and submitting them to the VRC for advice;

    —  FSA will be consulted on the line to be taken at EU meetings at which the UK's and other national plans are approved by the EU Commission;

    —  FSA will attend all meetings of the VRC as advisers/assessors and provide, in particular, input into the toxicological and other food safety implications of residues detected by the surveillance programmes;

    —  FSA will be involved in presentation of results to the VRC and their quarterly publication in MAVIS, including reporting to the VRC on the outcome of follow-up action on samples containing residues;


 
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