From 1 July 2011, the Food Standards Agency will be changing the frequency of official hygiene inspections on dairy farms in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to make the system more proportionate to the food safety risks.
The changes will lead to a reduction in official inspections in England and Wales from more than 11,000 to about 3,000 per year. In Northern Ireland there will be a reduction from 4,500 to 3,200 inspections per year. This will reduce the burden on the competent authorities that carry out the inspections, lower the cost to taxpayers, and provide a cost equivalent of £150,000 per year in saved time for dairy farmers.
Following a period of consultation, the key features of the amended system are:
- dairy farms supplying milk for pasteurisation will receive a routine official inspection every two years
- members of the Red Tractor Assured Dairy Farm scheme will benefit from reduced inspections and will receive an official inspection every 10 years
- to ensure consumers are protected, the inspection frequency for all farms that produce unpasteurised drinking milk will stay at six months, and those that produce milk for unpasteurised dairy products will be inspected every two years
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