Food Handlers Fitness to Work: A Practical Guide for Food Business Operators (Northern Ireland)
Thursday 6 November 2008
The Food Standards Agency is seeking views on updated guidance on food handlers’ fitness to work.
All comments and views should be sent to:
Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland
10B Clarendon Road
Tel: 02890 417733
Fax: 02890 417728
Responses are requested by: 28 January 2009
The key aspects of the updated guidance document are that it:
- replaces guidance published in 1995
- reflects the current regulatory framework
- is simplified and of more practical use in food businesses
- the range of infections is updated, including more on viruses
- it is no longer applicable to health professionals, they have their own more technical reference material
The guidance document will update and replace the existing guidance on the subject for food businesses, enforcement officers and health professionals that was published by the Department of Health in 1995. Ownership of the guidance passed to FSA when it was set up in 2000.
FSA has decided to update that guidance and improve its accessibility and usability. As part of this, we have tailored the document to be of practical use to food business operators, although it will also be useful to enforcers and as best practice guidance for primary producers. It is considered that health professionals have sufficient alternative guidance available to them.
The scope of the document has changed slightly from the 1995 version in that, as with the legislation underpinning it, the guidance now applies for the first time to all food businesses, including premises that require approval to handle and produce food of animal origin, except for primary producers.
It is proposed that in the first instance the final revised guidance document will be published on the the FSA website. Other publication options will be considered should there be demand for hard copies for example.
Any comments you may have on the draft guidance document would be helpful. To help structure your comments you may wish to focus on the following areas:
- Usefulness of the guidance and its annexes
- readability and presentation
- publication arrangements
- technical accuracy
- infections covered
- any impact – positive or negative - you think the guidance may have that should be taken into account by FSA
- anything else you consider to be important
This consultation exercise is only relevant to Northern Ireland. Separate consultations on the draft UK guidance document will take place in England, Scotland and Wales.
No impact assessment has been produced because the changes to the document are largely about its presentation and usability. However, if you feel that the revised version imposes any new burdens on you or your business, then please explain this in your response and it will be taken into account.
Food handlers who work while infected with certain bacteria or viruses can spread infection to other people through food they work with. This guidance will help managers and staff to prevent the spread of infection by advising which illnesses and symptoms staff should report and what managers should do in response.
Legal requirements underpinning this are in Annex II, Chapter VIII of Regulation (EC) 852/2004, which apply to all food businesses except primary producers. The guidance provides advice to UK food businesses on compliance with these requirements and information about best practice in this area.
The guidance updates and replaces the existing guidance on this subject published by the Department of Health in 1995. Following the existing guidance would not likely lead to public health risks or legal compliance problems, but the legal references, balance of technical content, presentation and publication arrangements severely restrict its accessibility and usefulness today. The guidance plays an important role in helping food businesses to ensure the safety of the food they produce so the FSA has decided to update and re-publish it.
The draft updated guidance takes into account the latest evidence and science and best practice principles for the production of guidance material for industry.
This consultation has been prepared in accordance with the HM Government Code of Practice on Consultation, which states that a consultation must follow better regulation best practice, including carrying out an Impact Assessment (Regulatory Impact Assessment in Scotland). The assessment is included in the consultation documents.
We are interested in what you thought of this consultation and would therefore welcome your general feedback on both the consultation package and overall consultation process. If you would like to assist us to improve the quality of future consultations, please feel free to share your thoughts with us by using the consultation feedback questionnaire.
Publication of personal data and confidentiality of responses
In accordance with the FSA principle of openness our Information Centre at Aviation House will hold a copy of the completed consultation. The FSA will publish a summary of responses, which may include personal data, such as your full name. Disclosure of any other personal data would be made only upon request for the full consultation responses. If you do not want this information to be released, please complete and return the Publication of Personal Data Form. Return of this form does not mean that we will treat your response to the consultation as confidential, just your personal data.
Data protection form (Word)
Data protection form (pdf)
Publication of response summary
Within three months of a consultation ending we aim to publish a summary of responses received and provide a link to it from this page.
If, after three months, the summary is still not showing, please contact the person who was responsible for the original consultation. Alternatively, you can contact the FSA Consultation Co-ordinator by email: firstname.lastname@example.org