Small grocery shops are to be spared the hassle of keeping detailed records of all their food hygiene measures.

Brussels has outlined plans to slash the burden of paperwork for SMEs by 25% over the next five years.

Smaller enterprises will still have to abide by high sanitary standards, but will no longer have to spend time writing down procedures and keeping detailed records.

The moves were given a guarded welcome this week by the Association of Convenience Stores, which has battled for years against the growing burden of red tape on its members.

ACS public affairs chief Shane Brennan said the European authorities needed to go at a faster pace to ease the pressure of regulations.

"This is a step in the right direction, but unfortunately the EU moves at a snail's pace," he said.