GLAA announces licensing changes
13th November 2017
The UK’s fresh produce sector has welcomed changes to licensing regulations for businesses that carry out fresh produce packaging.
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) which licenses the processing and packaging of food from agriculture and fishery, has announced it has reviewed the rules around some packaging of food products.
The GLAA says the move will reduce unnecessary burdens on businesses that are otherwise compliant. It says the changes, which have been discussed with the Food Produce Consortium (FPC), are sensible and proportionate.
Under the current regulations, businesses could apply for a licensing exemption if they employ the worker; own, hire or lease tools and machinery necessary to do the work and own the premises where the packaging is carried out.
But all three of these had to apply before an exemption could be granted.
Now, businesses who meet the exemption in relation to packaging activities except that it uses temporary labour, will be granted a licensing exemption providing that:
- the business only sources its temporary labour from a GLAA licensed labour provider
- the business subscribes to the GLAA’s active check service in respect of the labour provider(s) it uses
- where the business meets the threshold set in the “Transparency in Supply Chains” section of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 it publishes its transparency statement, and requires the same of its sub-contractors
- the business holds certification, which the GLAA will take into account as earned recognition, reducing the risk that the business is non-compliant e.g. BRC Global Standard for Food Safety
- the business advises the GLAA of its business model, and receives confirmation that a licence application will not be required under this approach, providing the other criteria above are met.
Nicola Ray, the GLAA’s Director of People and Licensing, said: “Our number one priority is the protection of vulnerable workers from exploitation and one of the ways we do this is to ensure businesses operating in the regulated sector are fully compliant of the law.
“The licensing regulation within the food processing and other sectors has played a huge part in helping drive out illegitimate practices which saw workers exploited. The changes we are making to the regulations around third party packaging won’t weaken our capacity to keep doing this.”
Nigel Jenney is CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium, the industry’s trade association. He said: “Our members welcome these changes. The GLAA has recognised changes in industry practices and has reflected this in its interpretation of the licensing requirements for third party packing. A significant number of our members, who are already using GLAA licensed services, would have had to incur the cost and resource of licensing themselves as labour providers, were it not for the GLAA’s sensible and pragmatic approach.”
If you consider that the licensing requirements should be amended for your business then you should contact the GLAA licensing team and request a packaging activity questionnaire.