FOOD SAFETY

1.       SCOPE

This strategy will provide a framework for achieving a consistent approach in the
use of food hygiene enforcement interventions within Cumbria i.e. Allerdale
Borough Council, Barrow Borough Council, Carlisle City Council, Copeland
Borough Council, Eden District Council and South Lakeland District Council. The
strategy details how these interventions can be applied to drive up business
compliance with food law. It also meets the requirements set out in the legislative
and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 to be transparent, accountable, proportionate,
consistent, and to target enforcement only at cases in which action is needed.

The Food Standards Agency’s Food Law Code of Practice (2008) (FLCOP)
provides a number of different interventions that a food authority can undertake.
The aim of the policy is to improve compliance of all food premises activities in
the area, and to prioritise high-risk businesses and those, which are not ‘broadly

The intervention strategy will be delivered in each local authority by:

        Recognising factors that influence non-compliance i.e. inability for
         FBO to recognise own non-compliance, lack of management controls, and
         wilful non-compliance. Barriers may include lack of knowledge, time,
         interest, skill, and money.
        Considering risks resulting from non-compliance
        Focusing on outcomes of ‘broadly compliant’ as a minimum
         standard and reduction in food poisoning risks from business
        Seeking to secure compliance by the various enforcement options

Interventions are defined as activities that are designed to monitor, support and
increase food law compliance within a food establishment. They include but are
not restricted to “official controls”.

The interventions that are ‘official controls’ included in the FLCOP include: -

         A.   Inspections and audits (full/partial inspection and audits)
         B.   Monitoring
         C.   Surveillance
         D.   Verification
         E.   Audit
         F.   Sampling.
Official controls are any form of control that the competent authority performs for
the verification of compliance with the food law. They should take account of the
identified risks, the Food Business Operator’s past record, reliability of ‘own’
checks, any information that may indicate non-compliance and should be
unannounced where appropriate. Definitions of ‘Official Controls’ can be found in
the FLCOP.

Other interventions, i.e. those which, do not constitute official controls include:

         A. Education, advice and coaching provided at a food establishment.

         B. Information and intelligence gathering. This may include
            sampling, where examination is not carried out, by an Official

Resource efficiencies can be gained by utilising the reduced intervention in the
low risk and compliant premises will result in more time being available for
undertaking the more demanding workload with respect to non-broadly compliant
businesses, and poor standards within those food premises. Intensive regulation
should be directed at those businesses that present the greatest risk to public
health. Businesses handling and producing high-risk foods, those that have a
larger supply chain and non-compliant food establishments will be prioritised in
terms of targeting local authority resources. Clear evidence will be provided as to
why enforcement action is necessary if compliance does not improve.

Those businesses that are compliant with food law should be subject to
interventions that reflect the level of compliance that has been achieved by the
food business operator.


A food hygiene intervention has three main purposes

(a)      To identify potential hazards, and assess the risks to public health arising
         from food business activities
(b)      To assess the effectiveness of management control
(c)      To identify and remedy contraventions of food hygiene law

Other interventions that do not constitute ‘official controls’ can be undertaken in
some premises in addition to the official control or at an interval between ‘official

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Broadly compliant
The term ‘broadly compliant’ relates to the way a food business complies with
food hygiene legislation, and is a National Performance Indicator NI184, intended
for the monitoring of local authorities. A food safety officer currently risk assesses
every food business having regard to a food hygiene scoring system located in
the Food Law Code of Practice.

A food business will be classed as broadly compliant, if they score in the manner
described below in the categories listed.

         a) Hygiene compliance record                         = 10 or less
         b) Structural compliance record                      = 10 or less
         c) Confidence in management                          = 10 or less

Therefore in order to be classed as broadly compliant the business should score
10 or less in each category a) to c), and have a total of 30 or less for the sum of
the categories.

FLCOP Risk Rating & intervention frequency.
Currently food premises are risk rated by combining the inherent risk and the
compliance data to categorise premises in the following manner and to determine
when the premises are next visited:

Cat A Premises – 92 or higher         - visited as a minimum every 6 months
Cat B Premises – 72 – 91              - visited as a minimum every 12 months
Cat C Premises – 42 – 71              - visited as a minimum every 18 months
Cat D Premises - 31 – 41              - visited as a minimum every 24 months
Cat E Premises - 0 – 30               - A programme of alternative enforcement
strategies or interventions ever 3 years.

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Intervention programmes should be planned so that establishments receive an
intervention no later than 28 days after the relevant food hygiene intervention
frequency (Annex 5.4 FLCOP). In addition, the following premises will receive a
minimum intervention as follows:

Category A & B premises shall receive at least a full inspection or audit within
28 days of the due date. Those that are compliant (broadly complaint) can
receive a partial inspection where local authorities have total confidence in
management control. Each LA may carry out a partial inspection as a minimum
official control along with other interventions where appropriate. It is however,
recommended that a full inspection is undertaken at least every year in ‘A’ rated
premises. A partial inspection or audit could be undertaken at the next due
inspection in six months time. This would be useful for unburdening compliant
premises that fall into risk category A for the nature of the products they handle
or produce.

Category C premises shall receive an intervention at appropriate intervals every
18 months. This should consist of a full inspection, audit or partial inspection until
such time that the premises, is deemed ‘broadly complaint’. When the business
becomes ‘broadly compliant’ then other planned interventions may alternate
between inspections, partial inspections, audits and other ‘official controls’.

However, individual local authorities should determine the best approach to
target resources at these premises.

Category D premises shall receive an intervention at appropriate intervals as
detailed in Annex 5 of the FLCOP. Interventions that are ‘Official controls’ and
other interventions can be alternated at these intervals to reflect the service
needs of the local authority. So for example a partial inspection can be
undertaken at one interval and then another intervention at the next.

Category E premises will receive an initial full inspection, and following an
appropriate score being applied, will then become part of the alternative
enforcement strategy by letter and questionnaire every 3 years.

However, individual local authorities should determine the best approach to
target resources at these premises.

New businesses and changes to operation
If there is a change in ownership and/or business activities in any food business
then the premises will receive an official control. This also applies to the receipt
of unsatisfactory sampling results or a complaint regarding food or hygiene.

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Assessment of risk
The intervention process will be dependent upon the type and nature of the food
business. However, the underlying principle of any intervention should be the
consideration of food safety hazards and an assessment of risk NOT merely to
identify contraventions of legislation. An initial assessment of the food safety
hazards associated with the business should be made i.e. the risk to public
health and the critical areas including type and quantity of food handled, number
and type of consumers and methods of handling/processing. The adequacy or
otherwise of any hygiene system should be assessed by the Food Safety Officer.
Any unforeseen potential hazard identified through the assessment should be
discussed during or at the conclusion of the visit and confirmed in writing.

Larger food businesses
Businesses, especially larger ones, can be broken down into units for
intervention purposes, especially where activities present different degrees of
hazard and risk. This for example could be applied to supermarkets with both
high-risk and low-risk elements.

In assessing compliance, the officer shall give due consideration to any Relevant
Industry Guides to Good Hygiene Practice. This assessment should also
consider any centrally issued guidance of a company where any offences
identified during an inspection are or appear to be associated with the company’s
policies and procedures. When considering interventions consideration should
be given to the Primary Authority Scheme and any focus directed through this

Interpretation and action taken by Food Safety Officers following an intervention
shall be consistent within the local authority and the Food Standards Agency and
LACORS guidance.

Intervention planning and timing
With regard to pro-active/reactive interventions, inspections or audits of non-
broadly compliant businesses will be carried out unannounced where
appropriate, however in the case of Crown Premises this must be by

In other cases, e.g. large manufacturers, hospitals, etc, it is left to the Officer's
discretion. Interventions should be carried out at optimum times and at various
times of the day where appropriate as detailed in the FLCOP.

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Revisit inspections to premises are carried out as required by the FLCOP Section
4: Interventions, Chapter 4.2 Inspections. Revisits should be defined as ‘official
control’ and categorized as a monitoring or verification visit. Revisit inspections
for failure to comply with statutory requirements should, whenever practical, be
undertaken by the officer who undertook the original intervention.

Evidence-based records
An explanation for the choice of intervention should be documented within the
food premises inspection forms records in every case. Each local authority
should have recommendations for next intervention’ information detailed on their
inspection/intervention form. A template can be found in Appendix 1.

The local authority inspection form(s) for food premises must be used in
conjunction with the Official PACE Evidence Notebooks where the Officer is
under in the opinion that formal action is likely.


Internal management systems are designed to monitor the nature and quality of
interventions undertaken by Food Safety Officers to ensure, so far as practicable,
that inspections are carried out to a uniform standard and that the interpretation
and action taken is consistent.

Management Systems may consist of the following:

        Periodic verification visits by Lead Environmental Health Officer (Food
         Safety) with each Food Safety Officer to determine compliance with
         the Intervention Strategy and other procedures where necessary.

        Verification of reducing risk score by Lead Environmental Health
         Officer/Team Leader.

        In-house procedures and policies to be followed by Officers.

        In-house procedures and policies in respect of Food Safety Interventions
         will be audited and reviewed on a regular basis, and changed in response
         to any new legislative requirements and codes of practice/guidance

        All intervention records shall be kept for at least 6 years as per FLCOP
         unless the records or reports have been marked for longer retention
         because of litigation, constitutional or Local Government Ombudsman

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        Cumbria Inter-Authority Auditing includes the assessment of food hygiene

        Intervention Planning is detailed within Service/Action Plans

    This strategy will be subject to annual review & may also be reviewed in
    response to changes in legislation, FLCOP, associated guidance, and local
    priorities planning. Any deviation from the policy, or request for review should
    be discussed at Cumbria Food Liaison Group meetings and revisions made
    where appropriate. Civil contingencies and major incidents will not affect the
    policy but will have impacts on NI 184 targets and local indicators.

    This strategy shall be communicated to all food enforcement staff, and
    stakeholders within the local authority. The strategy will be communicated
    with businesses and partners such as Cumbria County Council Trading


        EC Directives No 852/2004 and No.853/2004and associated regulations,
         and The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.
        Article 10 of Regulations 882/2004.
        Food Law Code of Practice (England) and associated guidance
        LACORS
        Food Standards Agency’s Strategic Plan 2007-10

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