Tuesday 23 July

Trading Standards Butchers Project – Only a few Mis-Steaks discovered

With barbeque season in full flow, West Yorkshire Trading Standards have recently undertaken project work focussing upon the butchers and farm shops across the West Yorkshire area to ensure that consumers are not being subjected to food fraud, businesses are allergen aware and weighing and measuring equipment is accurate. Overall, the project demonstrated broad compliance in the businesses inspected.

25 businesses were inspected by Trading Standards Officers who advised them about allergen controls and requirements, as well as checking weighing and measuring equipment, product descriptions and pricing. 24 food samples were also procured and submitted to the Public Analyst.

During the inspections, 49 weighing equipment were tested and Officers discovered 81% was suitably accurate and fit for trade use. In a small number of premises it was discovered that traders were using old imperial equipment which should not be used in trade premises and one premises had broken equipment that could not be used to weigh accurately.

In terms of pricing, 8% of businesses were only displaying pricing per lb rather than the metric units. Businesses should only sell goods using metric units, they can also display imperial units alongside metric units as long as they are not more prominent. Only metric weighing and measuring equipment can be used.

In terms of allergens 88% of businesses were aware of food allergens legislation, and had procedures to suitably inform consumers of allergens which were present in their products.

Where non compliances have occurred there have been a range of interventions undertaken by Officers, most dealt with by signposting traders to advice and guidance and working collaboratively to allow traders to achieve legislative compliance.

The food samples procured have been submitted to the Public Analyst to check the presence of allergens, speciation, meat content, where any claims are made such as ‘healthy’ and the fat content. The food samples consist of sausages and burgers and the results are pending.

Further advice and guidance about food allergies can be found at www.food.gov.uk or contact West Yorkshire Trading Standards. For consumers wishing to report a business please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

For businesses wanting advice and guidance West Yorkshire Trading Standards also deliver a range of training courses, which can be made bespoke to your needs.

David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said “We are pleased with the results of the surveillance project and the broad levels of compliance which were found, and steps taken to rectify any non-conformances discovered. We would encourage all West Yorkshire businesses to contact us if they wish to seek advice and guidance.

 

Councillor Jo Hepworth, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, said “We would urge businesses to ensure that they meet their regulatory requirements to prevent food fraud and to ensure that accurate allergen information is given to consumers. Failure to provide this information or indeed to provide inaccurate descriptions can lead to people suffering from potentially fatal allergic reactions.”