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LOCAL AUTHORITIES GET OVER£4M FOR TRAINING CATERERS IN FOOD SAFETY

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The Food Standards Agency today announced it has awarded grants worth over£4m to 33 projects involving 99 local au...
The Food Standards Agency today announced it has awarded grants worth over£4m to 33 projects involving 99 local authorities in England to provide a support package to caterers and food retailers to implement food safety management arrangements.

This is the second year that the FSA has made the awards to local authorities across the country, as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting food businesses to comply with EU hygiene regulations introduced in January 2006. The grants aim to improve consumer protection and make it easier for caterers to implement and manage good hygiene practices.

The grants will be used by the local authorities to help some 23,000 small food businesses implement Safer food, better business (SFBB), a major programme initiated by the FSA using innovative and simple guidance to improve hygiene standards. The SFBB pack was produced in partnership with industry and local authorities and rolled out in 2005. The SFBB programme has been very well received by both local authorities and food businesses alike and the Agency will continue to build on its success.

David Statham, the agency's director of enforcement, made the announcement at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health.

Mr Statham said: 'This is the second tranche of grants made to local authorities to assist them in implementing SFBB, and the agency is delighted at the number and calibre of the applications submitted. The FSA is committed to working with local authorities to help them to provide information that food businesses need to comply with EU hygiene regulations and to make sure food sold to people when they eat out is as safe as possible.

'I'm particularly pleased to see other organisations, including trade associations and training bodies, joining forces with their local authorities to offer their expertise in delivering real benefits to their local community.'

The local authority grant applications were considered by an external appraisal panel in August, consisting of representatives from LACORS, the British Hospitality Association and Kings College, University of London.

Other programmes are available and include specific initiatives in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Case study 1(individual application):

Birmingham City Council (individual application)

Aim: Birmingham City Council's project aims to provide SFBB support to 1830 small caterers and 500 independent food retailers across the city.

The overall aim of the project is to improve food safety standards in Birmingham and reduce the need for enforcement action.

Project outline: Seminars and one-to-one coaching sessions will be offered to food businesses from all ethnic groups, by advertising in conjunction with locally based trade associations. Businesses with food safety problems found during routine inspections or where enforcement action has recently been taken will be particularly encouraged to take up the training.

Training and coaching support will be provided by CMi* coaches and the local authority's own Environmental Health Officers plus the use of other locally based and appropriately trained coaches with specific language skills.

Case Study 2 (joint application):

Applicants:

Broadland District Council, Norwich City Council, North Norfolk District Council, King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council

Aim: To deliver SFBB support to small independent, catering and retail businesses in four Norfolk authorities.

Project outline: With seasonal working and a low skills/wage economy, tourism plays a major part in the region's sustainability. The project

will:

- Improve food safety

- Build capacity and continuity in the micro and small business sector

- Strengthen local partnerships e.g. Business Link

- Provide a sustainable training resource

- Contribute to the growth of the tourist sector

- Introduce 1350 food businesses to SFBB

The FSA's method of seminars, one-to-one coaching and evaluation will be used, with Champions, certificates/logos, Surgeries and business advisors.

*CMi plc is one of the largest specialist food assurance and consulting companies of its type, working across the entire supply chain.

NOTES

- Safer food, better business is a new approach to food safety

management that offers simple, easy to use, practical guidance for catering businesses. It provides fact-sheets that a manager adapts for their own establishment to enable them to tackle any hazards in their food preparation or handling process. A simple diary is used to provide appropriate record keeping. The approach has been developed to allow businesses to manage food safety and protect consumers whilst at the same time removing current burdens on the businesses.

- Safer food, better business has been developed by the FSA working

with stakeholders including local authorities, trade bodies and small businesses.

- The new EU Food Hygiene Legislation consolidates, updates and

streamlines existing EU hygiene regulations developed over the last 40 years. In a farm to fork approach, all sectors of the industry, including retail, catering, manufacturing, primary producers and distributors will have to comply with it. Food safety management procedures will apply in a way, which is proportionate to the size and the nature of the business.

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