Following the end of a consultation last year, the FSA decided that only food producers and processors would be subject to Remedial Action Notices (RANs), which enforce immediate closure rather than the existing procedure where an application to magistrates is needed.
However, the FSA said this week that it would be starting a new consultation shortly that could once again throw open the possibility of extending enforcement to retailers.
Companies selling meat, fish, dairy products and eggs could all be subject to the RANs if the next consultation leads to amendments to the regulations and greater environmental health officer powers.
However, the consultation could also lead to a relaxation of the rules. The Forum of Private Business welcomed the FSA’s decision to think again about introducing the new "draconian" powers for food inspectors.