The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and local authorities have agreed plans for helping caterers work towards compliance with the EU food hygiene regulations, which come into force in January 2006. These include training, mentoring, workshops and the introduction of guidance materials on the new requirements.
FSA Scotland director George Paterson said: 'We see these changes as a logical step towards further development of robust food safety management systems in the catering sector.
'Catering operations are often more dynamic and complex than people realise and this funded assistance will focus on providing practical ways of managing food safety in this environment.
'Local authorities have a wealth of experience working with businesses to assist with implementing practical food safety management systems. This funded initiative will allow Authorities to develop constructive partnerships with businesses aimed at strengthening management of food safety and reinforcing consumer confidence.'
Allison Hay said: 'COSLA welcomes the allocation of this additional funding from the Agency which will allow local authorities to work with local food businesses on this important food safety initiative.
'Local authorities will use these funds on local priorities within a national framework. Staff will work hard to assist local businesses to ensure compliance with the new regulations, which come into force in January 2006.'
The agency in Scotland will spend a further£500,000 over the same two-year period providing central support for Scottish local authorities, which includes the production of guidance material for catering businesses, introducing an award scheme pilot for businesses and making specialist assistance available to businesses with non-English language needs.
LACORS, a local government central body, seeks to make a major contribution to the development of high quality consistent and coordinated local authority regulatory services across the UK.
From January 2006, all food businesses, with the exception of primary producers, will be required to adopt food safety management procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.