Food Standards Agency
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FBO approval deadline fast approaching

Food businesses approved by the Food Standards Agency are being urged to contact the Agency if they have changed operator since 1 January 2006. Important changes to the approvals process for food business operators (FBOs) take effect from the end of January 2012.

A High Court ruling established that a new approval is needed where there is a new FBO, whether or not other aspects of the business, such as the premises or the operations being carried out, remain unchanged. When an approved food establishment is sold as a going concern, an approval cannot legally be transferred directly to a new FBO.

FSA-approved food businesses – slaughterhouses, meat cutting plants, game handling establishments, and on farm slaughter facilities – that have changed FBO since 1 January 2006 without being subsequently approved must apply for a new approval in order to continue operating beyond 31 January 2012. To gain approval, an FBO must meet all the requirements of food hygiene and general food law regulations.

Craig Kirby, FSA Head of Approvals and Veterinary Advice, said: ‘It’s important that premises affected by these changes contact us as soon as possible. We wrote to FBOs in August 2011 and set out our plans to implement the ruling from 31 January 2012. Our aim is to minimise the impact to industry, so we can move forward as smoothly as possible.’

FBOs notifying the FSA of a change of operator before 31 January 2012 will be subject to an approval assessment. They will be able to keep their existing approval number, following a successful assessment. We aim to undertake all of these assessments by July 2013. FBOs can continue operating until that assessment. A change of FBO after 31 January 2012 is likely to require a new number, unless the business activities remain substantially the same.

FBOs requiring a new approval should contact the Food Standards Agency Approvals Team on 01904 456182 or email approvals@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

The ruling also applies to approved establishments that are subject to local authority/district council official controls. Businesses that have changed FBO since being approved, and those that do so in the future, should inform their enforcement authority.

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