Regulatory approach

regulation magnifying glass
The Food Standards Agency has a statutory objective to protect public health and consumers' other interests in relation to food. Excessive or unclear regulations, however, place an unnecessary burden on business, and other groups, and so hinder effective delivery of the intended benefits.

Regulating our future

We are currently undertaking a fundamental review of how we interact with businesses, to ensure consumer protection and a thriving food sector.

As part of our approach, we have launched a programme of engagement with businesses and our delivery partners. Based on five principles we have worked with our stakeholders to develop some models which we are now testing and piloting. We are also looking at the regulatory approach to food and feed internationally, as well as looking to learn lessons from UK regulators in other sectors.

The objective of the review is to move towards a more truly risk-based approach, in which the costs to business of regulation are no more than they need to be. This work will explore how best to support the majority of businesses that want to do the right things for consumers, while making sure those who put consumers’ health and confidence in the food sector at risk are dealt with appropriately.

FSA engagement and consultation

FSA engagement and consultation with stakeholders is a critical element of what we do and how we develop our regulatory approach. You can help shape the way food and feed law is implemented in the UK by providing us with your views and evidence to help inform our decision making process.

Impact Assessments

An Impact Assessment (IA) is a policy tool to assess impacts of options considered, including the expected costs and benefits against rationale for Government intervention. Understanding the costs, benefits, and risks of any new measure or proposal is fundamental to good policy making.

The FSA's commitment to reviewing regulation in England

Regulation should be proportionate and effective in delivering the intended outcome. Routine review is therefore necessary to monitor and maintain regulatory effectiveness and proportionality and is a critical part of the implementation process.

FSA Innovation and Regulation Plan

The FSA Innovation and Regulation Plan was produced at the end of 2015 in response to the Government’s Productivity Plan.  The FSA plan brings together and highlights the work being carried out by the FSA and sets out how the FSA’s regulatory framework is working effectively to support innovation and disruptive business models.

Cutting Red Tape

The Government’s Cutting Red Tape programme allows business to tell government how it can cut red tape and reduce bureaucratic barriers to growth and productivity within their sector. 

Business Impact Target Reporting

On 3 March 2016, during the last Parliament, the Government announced its Business Impact Target (BIT) to deliver “a saving of £10 billion to business and voluntary or community bodies from qualifying measures that come into force or cease to be in force during this Parliament.” 

Food Standards Agency measures introduced in the last Parliament that qualify as regulatory provisions under the BIT are detailed below, along with a statement of FSA non-qualifying regulatory provisions under the BIT.

List of FSA Qualifying Regulatory Provisions (QRP)

FSA BIT Assessment Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) Validation

Official Controls Charges in Meat Premises: A Proposal for a New Discount System


Introduction of Specific Approval for the Production of Burgers Intended to be Eaten Less Than Thoroughly Cooked (LTTC)


Reduction of purification times for shellfish purification cycles


Extended Audit Frequencies at approved FSA meat establishments


FSA guidance for business (combined submission)

  • Listeriosis in ready to eat foods within care setting
  • Antibiotic residue testing for dairy producers



Update to the FSA Food Law Code of Practice


List of FSA Non-qualifying regulatory provisions (NQRP)

FSA NQRP Statement

RPC Validation


Regulators' Code

The Regulators' Code provides a clear, flexible and principles-based framework for how regulators should engage with those they regulate. 

We strive to be a fair and effective regulator, proportionate and forward looking in our regulatory approach and focused on achieving the outcomes we seek. 

Our pledge is to put consumers first in everything we do, so that food is safe and what it says it is, that we have access to an affordable healthy diet, and can make informed choices about what we eat, now and in the future. 

Our Strategic Plan 2015-2020 sets out our priorities and proposed approaches to achieve our strategic outcomes including the principles by which we work.

We accept that others may not always agree with our approach and even though our intentions will always be true to our strategic aims we may make decisions that either are or are perceived to be in need of challenge e.g. we get the balance of proportionality wrong in our decision making.  The following sets out the standards you should expect from the FSA and how you can complain if we fail to meet this.

Service standards

Whether you are a consumer or business, we are committed to providing you with a helpful, courteous and efficient service as set out in our statement of service standards.

Complaints and comments

Receiving comments and responding to complaints is important to us and we will try to resolve any problem quickly, and explain what we have done and why.