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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update 17

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update 17

14 Apr 2020

Drivers’ hours – feedback needed asap to support further extensionThe Department for Transport authorised a temporary relaxation of the enforcement of both the EU and GB drivers’ hours rules for the whole haulage industry, which began on 23 March and is due to end on 21 April 2020.

In addition, in response to stakeholder feedback, a further relaxation was included, allowing drivers to use the ferry/train derogation whilst taking a reduced daily rest of 9 hours. Further information can be found CLICK here.

The Department for Transport is considering requests for further relaxations including on the way forward after 21 April 2020. We have been asked to provide urgent feedback for Tuesday 14 April. We need to support any request for an extension with evidence, so we are seeking your views on:

  1. what impact the relaxations have had on your business/industry
  2. whether you think these relaxations need extending past 21 April 2020, and if so what evidence can you provide for this case?

Apologies for the short timescale but we have only just received this request from Defra. Email sian@freshproduce.org.uk with any feedback by 0930 latest on 14 April.

Transport and travel guidance
A new hub on gov.uk brings together Information for people using transport or working in the transport sector during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Matching transportation needs
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) is providing a service to match organisations together so that those who have capacity can help those in need, by making available staff, vehicles and expertise to support the supply chain.

Any organisation seeking support can access the database of available resources.

If you have capacity and would like to help those in need you are asked to complete CILT’s online form. The information provided will be uploaded into the public non-editable resource database, for others to view and to directly reach out to their required resource for support.

Other bodies supporting CILT on this are the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).

For more information visit the CILT website: https://ciltuk.org.uk/covidresponse

Updated advice on audits from GFSI

  • Here are extracts from the latest advice which you can find CLICK here:
    ‘GFSI mandated a certificate extension of six months providing that:
    the Certification Programme Owner (CPO) has confirmed that certification extension is an acceptable option for their programme’s users. One of the GFSI-recognised CPOs has chosen not to offer certificate extension, which is allowed for in the GFSI position.
  • a risk assessment has confirmed that extending the certificate is advisable. This risk assessment must be carried out by the Certification Body (CB) under guidelines from the Certification Programme Owner and the IAF ID3. Based on background information and the current context, the goal of the risk assessment is to confirm that the certified organisation is equipped to maintain the practices and processes guaranteed by their certificate.

This risk assessment may draw on the organisation’s historical data that sits with the Certification Body; it may also entail current information on the impact of the pandemic on the organisation’s operations. Certified organisations may be asked to provide such information to the Certification Bodies to support this risk assessment.

This decision was made in order to relieve pressure from the food industry in this period of need and uncertainty. The GFSI position also states that the audit should occur wherever it is feasible to do so, and we ask that the CBs and the certified organisations continuously review the situation to assess the feasibility of scheduling the overdue audit as soon as reasonably possible.’

Remote audits
‘GFSI has made the decision to not support emergency implementation of non-standard audits, specifically remote methods, to replace standard audits for certification purposes. At the heart of this decision is a concern that food operations and auditors may not be equipped to ensure that new audit methods could be applied without compromising the quality of the certificate, thus putting less equipped companies at a disadvantage at an already difficult time.

We remain committed to our role in providing a consistent and harmonised approach to food safety. With a global view spanning widely varying capacities and geographies, GFSI has a responsibility to consider those sites or auditors who may have limited access to technologies or a continued reliance on paper records.

Nevertheless, GFSI is supportive of the use of Information and Communication Technologies as part of a food safety audit, provided it occurs within a robust framework defined by the Accreditation Requirements and the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements.

As we have already announced, our Stakeholder Advisory Forum (SAF) are expediting their work on these topics and are preparing their recommendation to the GFSI Board on amendments and an addition to version 2020 of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. Once this recommendation is defined, we will agree with our Board how this may be used to help manage the high number of delayed audits.’

If you have any issues and queries please contact us.

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