Self-checking refers to the whole range of measures taken by business operators to make sure that the products for which they are responsible meet the requirements laid down in the regulations on the safety and the quality of products under the authority of the FASFC, and on tracing.
Self-checking implies that the requirements have to be met at all stages of production, processing and distribution of products. All business operators (except those of the primary
sector) with activities in the food chain must introduce, implement and sustain a self-checking system.
To help business operators to implement self-checking within their business, the various sectors of the agri-foodstuffs industry are free to draw up self-checking guides that may be submitted for approval to the FASFC. The approval process includes assessments by both a technical committee of the FASFC and the Scientific Committee of the FASFC. This method was adopted in order to guarantee the quality as well as the contents of the guide.
Businesses may, however, choose not to use these guides when setting up their self-checking system provided that they are able to guarantee similar results by using another system. The guides submitted for approval must be based upon a hazard analysis, deal with subjects such as hygiene practices, tracing, obligatory notification and HACCP and, finally, be easy to use by the business operators concerned.
In the primary sector, the setting up of a self-checking system is not mandatory. Business operators must, however, comply with good hygiene practices and keep records of certain operations. In some circumstances, measures governing the implementation of self-checking and tracing for SMEs engaged in processing and distribution may be less stringent.
In addition to the self-checking requirement referred to above, it is also possible to have the self-checking system in place validated by means of an audit. If a business has chosen to implement a guide that was approved by the FASFC, this audit may be performed by a certification (inspection) body accredited and approved for that purpose. But the audit may just as well be performed by the FASFC, irrespective of the availability of an approved guide.
Several incentives have been put in place in order to encourage businesses to have their self-checking system validated. Since the FASFC has more confidence in businesses with a validated self-checking system, inspection frequencies may be lowered for such businesses. In addition, the annual contribution due to the FASFC is also reduced for businesses with a validated self-checking system.