News item

New Food Business Operator approval process - update

Food businesses approved by the Food Standards Agency that change food business operator (FBO) after 31 January 2012 will need a new approval. The new FBO can continue to trade using the existing approval until a new approval assessment is undertaken. This change follows consultation with stakeholders.

Businesses will be able to continue operating for up to four weeks after a change of FBO, until their new approval is granted, as long as they have notified the FSA within one week of the change taking effect.

The change, which takes effect from 31 January 2012, will also apply to FSA approved businesses placed under administration and purchased as a ‘going concern’ (where the premises, equipment used and activities remain unchanged after sale).

Businesses will need to meet the following conditions:
- The FSA must receive an application for a new approval within one calendar week after a change of FBO.
- No changes to the food safety control arrangements or activities being carried out on the premises, such as the type of animals slaughtered or products being produced, must take place before the approval visit.
- FBOs are asked to give the FSA as much notice as possible of a potential change of FBO.

The approval assessment will be undertaken as soon as possible and in all cases within three weeks of receiving an approval application from the new FBO. Timings of the on-site assessment will take full account of risk.

In planning for a change of FBO, a pre-change advisory assessment can be provided by the FSA to help identify any potential issues that may cause a problem in getting a new approval. This is by no means a guarantee that approval will be granted following a new approval assessment and will require the co-operation of the existing FBO.

FSA approved establishments requiring a new approval due to a change of FBO should contact the relevant Approvals Team:

England, Scotland and Wales
Approvals Manager
Room 112 Foss House
Kings Pool, Peasholme Green
York YO1 7PR
tel: 01904 456182 fax: 01904 455420

Northern Ireland
Mrs Joy Cresswell
FSA Northern Ireland,
10A-C Clarendon Road
Belfast BT1 3BG
tel: 02890 417759 fax: 02890 417726

Mark your correspondence for the attention of the Approvals Manager. This information will be treated in confidence.

Other competent authorities across the UK, which are responsible for the approval of food and feed establishments, are being asked to take a similar approach for establishments for which they have enforcement responsibility.