Fire risk minimisation: Code of Practice for the Food Industry Supported by Insurers (Nov 2007)

A new food industry Code of Practice on Fire Risk Minimisation has been published by the Insurers’ Fire Research Strategy Scheme (‘InFiReS’), in association with the Association of Insurers and Risk Managers in Commerce (‘AIRMIC’) and the Food Industry Panels Group (‘FIPG’).

The Code has the support of the UK insurance industry. It updates the previous guidance published in 2003 by the FIPG – a broad consortium of trade associations in the food manufacturing, storage and distribution sectors led by the Chilled Food Association (CFA). Designed to provide advice across all the various sectors of the food industry, the new Code of Practice aims to establish a generic property loss control standard that companies can aspire to in the expectation that damage caused by fire will be kept to a minimum.

Fire has been and continues to be one of the major issues facing the food manufacture, storage and distribution industries in the UK. This new Code updates the approach that individual companies must take to ensure that they are fully compliant with legislative requirements and provides guidance on fire risk minimisation in both new and existing structures, which is required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which came into force in 2006.

The new Code of Practice covers the following areas:

o Compliance with legislation and management of fire risks;

o The minimisation of fire risk – core requirements including permits to work and maintenance;

o Minimisation of fire risk – equipment and materials including construction, composite panels and specific production processes;

o Fire protection and detection equipment;

o Emergency response and contingency planning;

o Appendices – housekeeping, fire checklist, work permits, approved
suppliers and installers of approved composite panels;

o Further reading and information.

Kaarin Goodburn, CFA’s Secretary General, in welcoming the new Code of Practice said, “CFA was instrumental in developing the original FIPG guidance which was prepared to address the problems experienced by the food industry in obtaining fire insurance. We welcome and endorse this new publication which has full Code of Practice status and which is a milestone in having the support of the UK insurance industry.”

Derek Mason, Group Risk and Insurance Manager at Uniq plc, said, “It was always the intention that once we had completed the first edition of FIPG guidance we would seek insurers’ full support for the approach. I am delighted to say this has now been achieved. When the property insurance market next hardens this Code should give property risk managers ammunition to counter the wilder excesses and nonsensical demands of some insurers that were previously seen.”

Fire Risk Minimisation Guidance for the Food Industry is available to order from the FPA website priced £15.00 or £12.00 for FPA members. It is also available as a free download to CFA members at www.chilledfood.organd to gold and silver FPA members at

For further information about this publication please contact Kaarin Goodburn at the Chilled Food Association (CFA) on 01536 514365 or Dominic Louks at the Fire Protection Association (FPA) on 01608 812513.

Relaunched website for the chilled food industry (Nov 2007)

The Chilled Food Association has relaunched its highly successful website at With improved navigation and search facilities the newly designed website continues to offer a wealth of information on food safety and hygiene as well as resources for journalists, students, authorities, enforcers and industry.

The website provides a unique repository for:

  • guidance (downloads) on safety assurance, hygiene, management, shelf life, and legislation e.g. Microbiological Criteria for Food Regulations 2073/2005/EC;
  • industry information such as market data;
  • chilled food-related events (i.e. courses, conferences and exhibitions);
  • CFA position statements on a variety of issues; and
  • information for students.

The website is linked to the CFA shop where CFA publications such as best practice guidelines can be purchased securely. You can also sign up for newsletters and updates.

In addition CFA Members have access to an extensive library of resources including:

  • technical reference materials;
  • regulatory, political and policy developments (national and international);
  • updates on confidential CFA projects and research;
  • contingency planning and support.


The UK chilled food industry leads the world in the standards and systems used to produce chilled prepared foods. These standards are used as the basis of European industry professional guidelines and are promoted worldwide by the CFA.

Kaarin Goodburn, CFA’s Secretary General said, “We are very proud of our relaunched website which is at the cutting edge in terms of the information it provides for its members, the food industry in general, regulatory bodies and the wider public. CFA is recognised by UK and European Government departments and agencies as the voice of the UK chilled prepared food industry. With over 130,000 page views in the last year it is important that our interface with the public and the industry communicates our message clearly.”

First woman to chair CFA (8 Mar 2007)

Helen SissonHelen Sisson, Group Technical Director of Greencore Group, has been appointed as the first woman to chair the Chilled Food Association (CFA).

Helen has been involved with the CFA for 6 years, including serving on the CFA Executive Committee for the past 3 years. She has 20 years experience within the Food Industry, the majority of which have been spent working with chilled foods.

CFA and its members are at the forefront of hygiene standards in chilled food production. These standards are used as the basis of European industry professional guidelines and are promoted worldwide by CFA. CFA is recognised by both UK and European Government departments and agencies as the voice of the £7.5bn UK Chilled Prepared Foods Industry.

Helen will chair CFA’s Board of Directors, comprising senior management representatives of Full Member companies. The Board is responsible for governance and development of the CFA; it oversees all CFA activities and determines overall CFA strategy.

Helen was appointed Group Technical Director of Greencore in 2004, having previously held a number of technical and operational roles within the company. She is responsible for all aspects of food safety, health & safety and the environment as well as leading the company’s health agenda and unique Food First programme. During her time Greencore has made significant progress in key risk management areas, achieving recognition from many sources including its customers, insurers and national government offices, as well as contributing to the progress and profitability of the Group.

Kaarin Goodburn, Secretary General of the CFA said, “We are delighted that Helen Sisson is to be the first woman to chair CFA. Her experience in the Chilled Food Industry is extensive and her knowledge and background will help us in our mission to promote its professional reputation and standards of food safety and hygiene”.

Commenting on her appointment, Helen Sisson said, “It is an honour to chair CFA. I am looking forward to working with colleagues in the industry to build on the CFA’s many strengths and excellent reputation as a centre of expertise for the Chilled Foods Industry.”

Date issued: 8 March 2007

Assuring Produce Safety: CFA publishes microbiological guidance for growers – 2nd edition (Nov 2007)

The new revised second edition of CFA’s successful ‘Microbiological Guidance for Produce Suppliers to Chilled Food Manufacturers’ is now available.

Aimed at suppliers and growers of fresh, frozen and dehydrated produce – both organic and conventional, the primary aim of this Guidance is to help to minimise food safety risks.

The safety of fresh produce is assured primarily by hygienic growing, handling and preparation conditions. By focusing on using risk assessment and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) in the field, this document provides clear guidance to all growers of produce on the main microbial food safety hazards and their controls, particularly in relation to produce that is to be minimally processed and eaten without being cooked.

Good Agricultural Practice and Good Hygienic Practice are recognised internationally as the basis for the safe production of fresh produce and the most efficient way to improve the safety of produce is to rely on a proactive system reducing risk factors during production and handling. The revised Guidance addresses all the key control areas – specifically:

  • Risk Assessment
  • Traceability
  • Hazards and their Control in Growing
  • Harvesting & Handling
  • Packhouses/Post Harvest Handling
  • Sampling, Test Methods, Targets and Tolerances, Interpretation of Results.

A risk assessment approach is taken throughout, with information being provided on relative risks of:

  • Various water sources
  • Irrigation methods
  • Crop types and uses.

Information is also provided on acceptable treatments and intervals in the application of organic materials to land as well as livestock intervals, which has been taken into account in the development of the Food Standards Agency’s ‘Managing Manures for Food Safety’.

New to the second edition are newly defined concepts such as ‘control point’, amended farmyard manure handling requirements including usage intervals, inclusion of requirements for orchards/fruit production, and revision of packhouse and postharvest handling requirements.

In addition the guidance now includes a return to work questionnaire for food handlers and information on the key requirements of the EU Microbiological Criteria for Foodstuffs (2073/2005) from a fresh produce perspective.

Commenting on the new publication, Kaarin Goodburn, CFA’s Secretary General said, “The first edition of CFA’s microbiological guidance for growers set the gold standard for fresh produce suppliers to the chilled food industry. The new Guidance is based on current best practice taking into account research and experience. Protecting the microbiological quality and safety of raw materials used to make raw ready-to-eat products in particular is vital. We believe that the industry and its suppliers will benefit greatly from this latest CFA publication and we would encourage the wider uptake of the key principles throughout the ready-to-eat fresh produce sector.”

CFA Produce Working Group Chairman, Mr Greg Hunn (Greencore) said: “By bringing together growers and users of produce in an ‘open forum’ and by using a HACCP and risk assessment approach to the management of supply standards, this updated MGG will further strengthen controls in the produce supply base not only to CFA members but also in the broader produce industry.”

To obtain your copy of these Guidelines visit the CFA online shop.