Joint Food Safety and Standards Group
Licensing of Butchers' Shops in England
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Consultation on Draft Central Guidance
Guidance Notes The Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) (Butchers' Shops) Amendment Regulations 2000
5 January 2000
LICENSING OF BUTCHERS' SHOPS IN ENGLAND - CONSULTATION ON DRAFT CENTRAL GUIDANCE
EXTENSION OF CONSULTATION PERIOD UNTIL 18 FEBRUARY 2000
1. Comments are invited on the following draft central guidance on the forthcoming Government Regulations which will introduce an annual licensing scheme for retail butchers' shops in England. The aim of the guidance notes is to support the practical application of the Regulations in butchers' premises.
2. The licensing Regulations will implement a key recommendation contained in the Report by the Expert Group chaired by Professor Hugh Pennington which examined the circumstances of the Central Scotland E.coli O157 outbreak of 1996. The Pennington Group published its full report in April 1997 and made 32 recommendations for action, all of which were accepted by Government in June of that year.
3. A copy of the proposed Regulations was circulated to interested organisations on 6 August 1999 at the same time as they were notified to the European Commission. The Regulations have successfully completed the EU notification stage. It is expected the Regulations will become law early this year with a subsequent lead-in period of six months. The draft guidance has been prepared on the basis of the text notified to the European Commission, which is also on this web site
4. Because of the high level of interest shown in this issue, the deadline on the draft guidance has been extended toFriday 18 February 2000. Comments should be sent by that date to Mr Kieran Power at the Department of Health, Joint Food Safety and Standards Group, Room 501A Skipton House, 80 London Road, London SE1 6LH. Alternatively, comments may be e-mailed to Kieran.Power@doh.gsi.gov.uk by the same deadline.
Draft Regulations in PDF Format
To: Interested Organisations
6 August 1999
LICENSING OF BUTCHERS' SHOPS IN ENGLAND
1. I attach a copy of the Government proposals for an annual licensing scheme for retail butchers’ shops in England, which was formally notified to the European Commission on 5 August 1999. Subject to the outcome of the EU notification procedure, we anticipate being in a position to lay regulations before the end of this year, with a view to licensing coming into full effect by Summer 2000.
2. The attached draft Regulations reflect the outcome of the GB consultation carried out in the first half of last year, which indicated broad support for the government’s proposals to require the annual licensing of butchers’ shops. The proposals implement a key recommendation contained in the Pennington Group Report (The Pennington Group: Report on the Circumstances Leading to the 1996 Outbreak of Infection with E.coli 0157 in Central Scotland, the Implications for Food Safety and the Lessons to be Learned. April 1997, The Stationery Office, ISBN 0-11-495851-3, £7.30.) The consultation exercise has resulted in some revisions to the original proposals, which are contained in the draft Regulations notified to the Commission.
3. For your assistance and information I have summarised the main provisions of the draft regulations below, together with some further details of the key changes made. Please note there is also a specific request for comments at paragraph 7.
The draft Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) (Butchers’ Shops) Amendment Regulations 1999
4. The (attached) draft Regulations provide for
- annual licensing of retail butchers shops, mobile shops and market stalls,
handling both unwrapped raw meat together with other ready to eat foods from the same premises
Certain larger mixed business premises selling a range of goods, such as supermarkets, which have a butchery service outlet, will also be required to have a license. The licensing conditions apply only to those parts of the premises engaged in the butchery activities.
- a range of conditions which premises must satisfy in order to be licensed, including
- Compliance with existing food hygiene legislation
- Operation of a documented Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system
- Enhanced staff training
- Payment of an annual license charge of £100
- local authority administration and enforcement of the scheme, including the power to refuse any application which does not meet the licensing requirements, and to suspend or revoke an existing licence where the conditions have been breached. Licence holders would have the right to appeal to a magistrates’ court. Premises would remain open until appeals had been determined unless there was an imminent risk to health, in which case normal powers for immediate closure under the Food Safety Act would apply.
- a lead-in period once the Regulations have been laid, to allow local authorities and butchers to prepare for the licensing requirements. This period will be 6 months.
Key changes arising from consultation
Raw meat only butchers
5. A key revision to the original draft proposals is that butchers selling
raw meat only, or handling and selling pre-wrapped bought in raw meat alongside ready to eat foods will not require a license. This reflects comments received in last year’s consultation exercise about the justification of licensing such premises, where the risk of cross-contamination from raw meat to ready eat food is either not present or is considerably lower than other types of food businesses not covered by the proposals, such as catering establishments.
Mixed business premises, e.g. supermarkets
6. Mixed business premises, such as supermarkets, where the predominant activity is not butchery, but which do have a butchery service outlet, will require a licence. This is by virtue of the definition used for "butcher’s shop". The licensing conditions will apply only to the parts of the store associated with the butchery activities, a position consistent to that proposed in consultation last year. However, significant changes in drafting have been made in response to consultation comments to help clarify this situation and the parts of the premises to which the license will apply.
Delicatessens and corner shops
7. Delicatessens, corner shops and similar outlets will not require a licence unless they sell unwrapped raw meat alongside ready to eat foods. This is consistent with the original licensing proposals, however, the definition of "meat" in the Regulations has been changed in the light of comments received. We do not believe that this change will have the effect of increasing the number of premises falling within the scope of the proposals.
We would, however, welcome any views on this specific point. "Meat" has been redefined as
meat, to include poultry, rabbit, and wild and farmed game. Premises handling solely sausages and cured bacon together with ready to eat foods would not be covered by the licensing Regulations by virtue of the definition of meat used, albeit they remain covered by existing general hygiene controls. Delicatessen counters in butchers’ shops, or adjoining fresh meat outlets in mixed business premises, would be covered by the licensing conditions applicable in those premises
8. Paragraph 5 of Schedule 1 contains revised provisions clarifying the obligation on butcher shop proprietors to maintain, and make available on request, records of the HACCP procedures which apply in the shop, including records relating to the training undertaken by staff.
9. Some drafting changes have been made to further clarify the training requirement for staff, in the light of consultation comments received.
Licensing arrangements in Scotland and Wales
10. The attached draft Regulations apply to England only. The Scottish Executive has taken the opportunity to consult further on a licensing scheme for butchers’ shops in Scotland. This reflects the history of
E.coli in that part of the UK and their wish to ensure regulations are introduced which address their particular situation. Draft licensing proposals for Scotland were issued for public consultation on 23 July and replies have been requested by 16 September [Details of the Scottish proposals are available from David Williamson, Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Dept, Tel 0131 244 6601]. Colleagues in Wales are also considering their approach to butchers’ licensing in the light of the recent devolution arrangements.
11. Subject to the views of the European Commission and other member states, we would anticipate laying the attached draft Regulations by the end of this year to come into effect in England after a 6 month lead-in period. It is our intention to provide guidance for local authorities and industry to support the application of the proposed licensing arrangements.
12. Any queries or comments on the attached draft Regulations should be made to:
Food Safety Policy Branch
Joint Food Safety and Standards Group
Department of Health
Room 501A Skipton House
80 London Road
London SE1 6LH
Tel: 0171 972 5035
Fax: 0171 972 5141
T W S Murray
Food Safety Policy Branch
Department of Health
This page last updated 9 February 2000
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