The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been criticised for not including advice in two of its guides on the legal duty of restaurants and other food businesses to demonstrate traceability.
European Commission traceability regulations have been in force for more than two years, but were not referred to in the FSA's guides Food Hygiene, A Guide for Business and Your First Steps to Running a Food Business, both published last year.
The Forum of Private Business (FPB), which represents 25,000 small and medium-sized UK companies, said this omission was "seriously worrying".
FPB food adviser Bob Salmon wrote to the FSA for an answer, but said the response he received was not satisfactory.
"I was told the booklets had been developed before the agency was able to finalise its own guidance on the traceability requirements," he said.
"Why is the FSA not passing on information, which constitutes a legal requirement, just because it's not in their wording? Do they not accept EC regulations until they've reworded them?"
The FSA consultation on its guidance to the regulations is still in progress. In a response to Salmon, the agency said: "We recognise the importance of traceability and will review the need for further guidance on traceability in FSA publications when the consultation is complete."
Salmon said he hoped that process would be completed swiftly. "I hope it can now produce simple and accurate guidance for firms which have missed out for over two years," he said.
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By Daniel Thomas