St Helena is updating its food safety legislation. New legislation is needed to provide food control officers with sufficient powers and support to ensure a high level of protection to the residents of and visitors to St Helena – without placing undue burdens on the food industry.

The existing Food Safety Ordinance will be updated to reflect the current industry while also being sufficiently flexible to accommodate the expansion expected in the future. The public and stakeholders will be consulted on the proposed new legislation in the coming months.

The full legislation comprises the Food Safety Ordinance and Subsidiary Regulations:

 

  1. Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations
  2. Food Safety (Products of Animal Origin) Regulations

In addition, there will be Codes of Practices detailing procedures such as inspection reports, monitoring, outbreak investigations, home slaughtering, food imports etc.

The draft legislation takes into account the introduction of new processes and products and possible new business models, such as franchises or multinational tour companies. The new Airport also brings the possibility of in-flight catering requirements.

Chairman of the Public Health Committee, Derek Thomas explains:

“The food industry is a global industry and favours the use of food safety management systems such as HACCP (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Point). Any new legislation has to be effective in that it will provide a high degree of public health protection but without undue burdens on either the food business operators or the control authority.

“Updated Food Safety legislation will affect everyone on St Helena and it is therefore important that all key stakeholders and the general public are involved as much as possible during the consultation process. We will ensure all stakeholders, including small businesses, are properly consulted.

“It is envisaged that home slaughtering will be allowed to continue – subject to improved standards and facilities – and we will be consulting with animal owners on this.”

Leading up to the public consultation, proposed changes to the legislation will be published in the local newspapers and discussed on radio to ensure the public is informed of the changes and how they might be affected.

Further details will be published in due course.

Notes to Editors

The Health Directorate initiated a review of food safety controls on the Island in 2014, timed to coincide with the Airport development, which will alter the economic environment on the Island, especially in the tourism sector. An increase in visitor numbers will precipitate an expansion of the food industry, while the production of safe food is in turn critical to the success of the tourism industry.

SHG

1 September 2015

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