The recently issued Resolution of the National Food Safety Authority’s (“NFSA”) board of directors is considered of great importance as it sets out the main food safety requirements whereby food establishments must be in strict compliance with during all phases of food trading.
The Resolution further regulates the obligations and liabilities of both food traders and food establishments’ operators.
The Resolution focuses on following a precautionary approach for food safety to ensure and guarantee the food product safety as well as adopting a preventive method for food trading operation by applying preventive systems i.e HACCP and Traceability, Withdraw and Recall practices in case food contamination/pollution is suspected.
ENTRY INTO FORCE
The Resolution was issued and is enforceable as of the 24th of June 2021.
NFSA granted food establishments a grace period for compliance with the provisions of the Resolutions of 6 months from its issuance date. The grace period may be extended for an additional 6 months, at the latest.
- The Resolution restricts food establishments to offer any product for trade prior to obtaining the NFSA license. Licensed food establishment must notify NFSA with any changes that may occur on their ownership structure or in case of material changed in the food trade activities.
- NFSA licenses are issued for a period of 3 years (renewable) against payment of annual fees.
- General Principles and Definitions
The Resolution lists several general principles and definitions. The definitions will aid in the interpretation and implementation of the Resolution, some of which are, Precautionary Measures, Food Safety, Food Shelf Life, First Production and Danger.
Below is a brief of the main principles provided for under the Resolution:
- NFSA, operators of food establishments (“Operators”), food traders and consumers are jointly liable for food safety;
- Operators must apply the food safety program that ensures abiding by the essential requirements for the trade of food, such program includes precautionary measures and traceability methods;
- Operators must follow the operational requirements including operational environment requirements and any other technical rules or decrees issued by the NFSA;
- Special food safety program must be reviewed periodically by the Operators to ensure due compliance with the same; and
- Communications shall be maintained between all food chain parties.
- Preliminary production and initial suppliers’ measures
It is worth mentioning that the Resolution stipulates a list of obligations imposed on the initial supplier such as guaranteeing that the initial producer follows the necessary hygiene and precautionary measures and that they are following the procedures that applies to trading environment. Moreover, a list of specific procedures and measures is provided for both animal origin and plant-based foods’ production controlling.
Finally, one of the significant obligations imposed on the initial supplier listed under the Resolution is ensuring that the initial producer maintains all initial production ledgers.
- Food Establishments
The Resolution sets out lists of requirements that should be satisfied concerning the following items which include, inter alia, the following:
- the food establishment’s location;
- its design and planning;
- internal organization;
- waste disposal;
- sanitation facilities,
- temperature control;
- storage, maintenance and equipment;
- food controlling equipment; and
- pest controlling and management.
- Food traders and establishments’ employees
The Resolution provides strict rules concerning the training and qualification requirements of the food establishments’ employees. The Resolution, further, regulates the review and periodic update of the training programs. Furthermore, strict rules and requirements are provided for the employees’ personal hygiene and behavior.
- Food production preparations
Operators are also required to guarantee pollution elimination especially microbiological, physical and chemical pollution through the control of supplying operations.
- Supervision of Post-Production Operations
The Resolution imposes some requirements on post-production operations, as follows:
- Documentation of records;
- Preparation of product recall from the market; and
- Products information’s registration system.
Finally, please note that the above is a brief on the key provisions regulated under the Resolution and that there are still other important provisions regulated thereunder.