News & Updates

Consultation launched on proposed reforms to the regulated products authorisation process

Food Standards Scotland and the Foods Standards Agency are seeking views on two proposed changes to the way we authorise regulated products. These changes will help us keep pace with innovation in the food industry, giving consumers a better choice of safe food .

Certain food and feed products called regulated products, which include food additives and flavourings, need to be authorised as safe before they can be sold. To do this this, we carry out a robust risk analysis process and provide advice to ministers in Scotland, England, and Wales who decide whether the product can be sold. 

FSS and the FSA inherited the current authorisation process from the EU, and it is clear significant change is needed to modernise the system, so we can bring benefits to consumers through a wider choice of safe food, as new, innovative products come to market more quickly.

The joint consultation, launched today, details two proposed changes to the process and follows engagement with stakeholders and endorsement for the proposals from the FSS and FSA Boards.

Garry Mournian, FSS Director of Policy and Science said:

“FSS and the FSA want to create a modern and streamlined Regulated Products Service that will bring benefits to consumers. We are working hard to improve the current system so it works better for Scotland, England and Wales, although it’s clear that more change is needed.

The two proposals detailed in the consultation can be delivered quickly to help streamline how the system works. The changes will improve the process to authorise regulated products, helping us to achieve a more efficient service. Food safety or standards will not be reduced in any way.”

FSS and the FSA would like to hear interested parties’ views on the potential impact, benefits and challenges around the two proposed changes. Views will be considered and will help inform our advice to ministers in Scotland, England and Wales. We expect to provide this advice in the Summer.

The two reforms are as follows:

  • Removing the requirement to renew authorisations: The removal of the requirement for some products already authorised as safe to go through a reauthorisation process at fixed intervals of every 10 years, regardless of whether evidence on safety changes.  Around 22% of the current caseload consists of renewal applications, and this is expected to rise to over 50% by 2027.  Without reform, these cases will put considerable strain on the service, focusing resource on products with many years of safe use where, in the majority of cases, we do not anticipate any change in risk. All renewal applications to date have been approved.  FSS/FSA already has powers to monitor new evidence and take required action at any time. We do this through our risk analysis process, following internationally agreed standards. We closely follow the work of other trusted international regulators and use surveillance to monitor food incidents globally.
  • Removing the requirement to lay legislation to authorise regulated products: This is a change to allow authorisations, following approval by ministers, to come into effect following publication by FSS/FSA (likely to be in the form of an official register), rather than setting them out in full in legislation.  This change will shorten the administrative period before new, safe products can be sold, and introduce a more proportionate level of scrutiny for these technical authorisation decisions..

The consultation is available on the FSA website and responses are required by 5 June 2024. Consultation on proposed reforms to the regulated products authorisation process | Food Standards Agency