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The Aims of Food Solution

  • To provide a voice in Europe to ensure that food regulations are practical and address the interests of SME and Micro Food Businesses before they are introduced 
  • To help food businesses comply with the law in a simple cost effective way 
  • To provide practical help to achieve the goal 
Food Solutions -  Food Hygiene and Food Safety Regulations Explained
Food Solutions Newsletter
| How to Improve Your Food Hygiene Rating | Food Labelling | HACCP | Food Hygiene Rating Scheme |
Keeping you up to date with Food Regulations
General Food law Review
The Commission has instigated a study on the evaluation of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, the "General Food Law" (GFL) ❶. The evaluation forms part of the Commission's Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT). This first stage is to revise GFL only. 

The study asks for extensive consultation of Member States Competent Authorities and all stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in the supply chains of food and feed in the EU, from primary production to processing, trading and distribution, retail and catering, as well as consumers and relevant NGOs. 

❶ You can view Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 by clicking here. 
Working with other Member States
Food Solutions is now a member of the UEAPME Food Forum in Brussels. This gave us the unique opportunity on 14th April to put the small food business points of view to the Commission. We did this together with representatives from other Member States, so that the messages we put across were not just UK but the common decisions of food SME organisations in Europe. 
The Commission takes into account such views. 

The objective of the meeting 

The objective of the four hour meeting was to advise the Commission on the revision of the General Food Regulation EC 178/2002. This is the regulation that sets the scene for all subsequent EU food law. We were only looking at the first 21 Articles and not at the structure and performance of EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority. That is for another day. 
The Commission was represented by Dr Maria Christodoulou supported by Anne Marechal. 

Topics discussed 

The basis for discussions was a questionnaire sent out to food SMEs in Member States asking for their views. 
Several of the issues raised by members of Food Solutions were put forward: 
  • The demand by UK authorities saying that the same vac-pak machine could not be used for raw and ready to eat foods without dismantling and complete sterilisation. This interpretation was described as silly. 
  • That a food business in old premises could never be given a top hygiene rating. 
  • The requirement for nutrient profiling on restaurant meals. 
  • Inspection charges which, according to our research survey would close down 147,000 food SMEs in UK alone if implemented 
  • Changes to traceability regulations 
  • Definitions of terms
Additional article 

The Food Forum recommended that a further Article be added to the regulation as Article 8b which demands that Competent Authorities and the Commission consider the impact of both regulations and interpretations may have on small and micro food businesses. Existing law demands assessment of the impact on consumers. We want it to include the impact on small businesses too. 
We said there must be a regulatory demand for protection of small business' interests also. 
Influencing the outcome 
The prime aim of Food Solutions is to provide your voice in Europe to ensure that food regulations are practical and address the interests of SME and Micro Food Businesses before they are introduced. 

Food Solutions is the only British representative on the UEAPME Food Panel from all the Member States that puts over the views of food SMEs to the EU officials. That Panel is the only one recognised by the Commission as speaking on behalf of small businesses. 

This means that we have direct access to the decision makers in Europe – this is essential! 

Why do I need to get involved? 

The review could lead to major changes to the existing regulations therefore we must ensure that your views, or in the case of Trade or Professional Associations, the views of your members are heard where it matters. 

Being in the right place at the right time and talking to the right people produces results 

Hidden nasty's 

Everyone involved with food can have input to this review. This includes pressure groups with a very narrow agenda. The danger is that these groups come up with some, quite frankly, bonkers ideas. 
If these are not challenged they are likely to be included.  
Apathy is dangerous
A recent article in a leading Sunday Newspaper stated that there is an "inexorable Brussels juggernaut" regarding the introduction of new regulations. 
  • Fact - there is detailed consultation before EU food laws are passed. 
  • Fact - we in Britain usually ignore the chance to put our views. 
The general food law is being revised. Bob Salmon (Food Solutions, the only representative for Britain) and colleagues from the other member states put forward the views of small food business views on Tuesday. 
  • Fact - very few in Britain have responded to Food Solutions' pleas for input.
  • Fact - all the others will wait until the revised regulation is published and then moan. 
The moral of this is that The Commission does listen and does change proposals if views are put at the right time and in the right way. 

If we do nothing we get what we deserve 
A Voice NOW
You need to have influence NOW where it matters, with the decision makers in Brussels. It's very easy to say 'I'll worry about it if it happens' and hope that someone else does the work. This is no guarantee of success. The more businesses Food Solutions represents the strong our voice becomes. 

The confusion surrounding the recently introduced changes to allergen labelling is a good example what happens when food businesses do not know what's going on (see newsletter 16 March). Members of Food Solutions are kept informed so they should not get surprises. 

You have an opportunity to influence the decision makers. To do this you need to join Food Solutions. We can then take your views and concerns to the UEAPME Food Forum and lawmakers. 

As a member of Food Solutions you will not only know about new regulations but have the opportunity to influence their content.  
16 April 2015
Join Food Solutions 

By becoming a member of Food Solutions your voice will give us added power where it matters – with the decision makers.

There is a small fee for membership of Food solutions.

Sole traders, partnerships and food professionals the cost is just £30 per annum. Click here for more information or to join.

For limited companies the cost is from £150 per annum. Click here for more information or to join.

For Trade or Professional Associations the cost is from £250 per annum. Click here for more information or to join.


We are here to help!

As a member you will be able to raise your concerns where it matters. Please contact Bob Salmon at: bob@food-solutions.org

Allergen Labelling 

Food Solutions has produces a simple download from our website providing you with an explanation about the changes with practical help and advice on how to implement the changes. Click here for details.

Getting and keeping level 5 under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme 

Food Solutions has produced a pack that offers practical help and advice.
Click here for details.

Food Labelling 

Label changes are expensive, but wrongly labelled food could be fatal to certain customers, or trigger a withdrawal or recall of the entire batch. Food Solutions has developed a one stop website that brings together all of the current and new labelling legislation together with official guidance.
Click here for details

Publications

Food Solutions has produced a series of booklets to aid understanding of food regulations. 

Understanding Food Hygiene and Safety Regulations Handbook
Click here for details

Food Hygiene and Safety Regulations made easy.
Click here for details

Food Hygiene and Safety Regulations made easy for Food Handlers
Click here for details

On-line training

We can offer on-line training on a range of subjects. 

Tell your business colleagues 

Please forward this Newsletter to other Food Business Operators that you know. We need a s much support as possible   
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The FSA can only put the regulation into UK law. IT CANNOT CHANGE THE REGULATION ITSELF. This is why involvement at European level is vital. 
If you do nothing you will get what you deserve
Food Solutions Publishing Ltd
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