East Sussex County Council Trading Standards Food and Feed Service Plan 2018/19
Date: 11 October 2018 V.1
This document outlines the considerations taken into account in the formulation of the Food and Feed Service Plan for East Sussex County Council Trading Standards.
1. Background to East Sussex
East Sussex has a population of just over half a million and covers an area of 1,725 square km (666 square miles), 64% falling within two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The county comprises of the Boroughs of Eastbourne and Hastings, and the Districts of Lewes, Rother and Wealden.
The population of East Sussex was estimated to be 552,300 in mid-2017, 7% more people than in 2007. Internal migration from within the UK is the main driver for the rising population in the county – natural change (births minus deaths) continued to be negative in 2017. East Sussex has a much older population profile than the country as a whole.
East Sussex has an older age profile compared to England and the South East. A quarter of the county’s population is aged 65 or over, compared to 18% in England and 19% regionally and the median age in the county is 46.5, compared to the national average of 38.8. Only 17% of the county is under 16, compared to 19% nationally and in the South East. Overall the East Sussex population has grown by 7% since 2007. While the population aged 65 and over has increased by 24%, the population of children aged 0-15 has grown by just 3%. The working age population has risen by 4%.
International migration was the main driver of population growth in England as a whole in 2017. However in East Sussex, internal migration is the key contributor to population growth, with international migration playing a smaller role. Natural change has been negative, meaning there has been more deaths than births, for at least the last 46 years.
Ethnicity: Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups increased over the decade to 8% of the population, although East Sussex remains less ethnically diverse than nationally and regionally.
Health: 20% of the total population has a long-term health problem or disability that limits day to day activities which is higher than the national and regional average.
Rurality: 26% of people in East Sussex live in rural areas.
Poverty: Almost 70,000 (29%) of households live in poverty (i.e. have an income less than 60% of GB median). In Hastings, this rises to 35% of households. (CACI 2014)
- Census – 2001 and 2011 Census
- ONS MYE – Office for National Statistics mid-year estimate 2013
- UK government estimate
- CACI – CACI Limited
The Council Plan sets out the ambitions and plans that the Council wishes to achieve by 2020 for each of our four overarching priority outcomes: driving economic growth; keeping vulnerable people safe; helping people help themselves; and making best use of resources.
Over the last few years there has been a fundamental and permanent change to the way the Council operates, with the size of the public sector reducing significantly. These changes will continue with the national revenue support grant to councils due to end by 2020/21 so that the Council is dependent on council tax and business rates to support increasing demand for services, particularly for social care and health services. With limited resources, the Council must be clear about what it can do and ensure that it cares for the most vulnerable people while achieving a financially sustainable balance across the services it provides. In doing this it will base its decisions on local evidence of need and what works and makes a difference locally.
The County is one of extremes. Whilst the landscape is predominately rural in character, nearly three quarters of the population live in urban areas. Four of our five urban centres are located on the coast, of which Eastbourne and Hastings are the largest and most densely populated.
Whilst some rural areas may be more affluent; some pockets experience significant deprivation. The most significant levels of deprivation are concentrated in the county’s coastal towns. Hastings is the most deprived local authority area in the region and ranks amongst the 20 most deprived areas in the country.
2. The Food and Feed Service Plan Priorities
This Food and Feed Service Plan has been developed to outline the key proposed work-streams for Trading Standards for the period of the 1st April 2018 to the 31st March 2019. This Food and Feed Service Plan is to be read in conjunction with the Council Priority Targets.
Contributing to the County priorities
The Trading Standards Food and Feed Service Plan is linked in to the County Council Plan which has set four priorities:
- Driving economic growth;
- Keeping vulnerable people safe;
- Helping people help themselves; and
- Making best use of resources.
Making best use of resources is the gateway priority through which any activity and accompanying resources must pass. The remaining three priority outcomes guide our activities, direct our resources and are reflected in our Council Plan activities and targets:
Making best use of resources - delivery outcomes:
- Using an evidence-based approach to assess and meet the needs of local people in the most effective way. We will specify and deliver appropriate services to secure the best outcomes and value for money for residents.
- We will ensure that we work in a unified way so that resources are focused on delivering our priority outcomes. This means minimising the cost of back office services and directing resources to frontline services. We will focus on delivering services close to local people in the most cost effective way possible.
- We will work in partnership to ensure that we use all the resources available in the public sector to improve outcomes. We will make the best use of our assets, sharing property, ICT and staff with partners so we work as efficiently as possible, removing duplication and increasing flexibility. We will join with partners to achieve better value through procurement.
In pursuit of meeting the priority outcomes of the County Council, The Trading Standards Service’s operational aims and objectives with regard to food and agriculture are as follows:
Trading Standards and the Food and Feed Service Plan
Trading Standards Service has an important role to play in promoting a safe and fair trading environment and in protecting the residents of East Sussex, particularly the vulnerable. The service supports economic growth by targeting rogue traders who inhibit legitimate businesses, and by engaging with local businesses to guide them through the regulatory framework.
Trading Standards work across three main key areas of the council’s priority outcomes,
- Driving economic growth,
- Keeping vulnerable people safe,
- Helping people to help themselves.
The main key areas impacting on food and feed work are:
We support local businesses to trade fairly and safely.
We do this by:
- Providing free signposting to businesses on regulatory advice and offering chargeable tailored business advice.
- Offering chargeable training to businesses on regulatory compliance.
- Carrying out inspections. We inspect premises on a targeted, intelligence-led basis ensuring the most effective use of resources
- Carrying out comprehensive sampling programmes.
- Enforce relevant legislation where necessary to ensure a level playing field for all businesses.
Protecting vulnerable consumers
We assist the Adult Social Care administered Support with Confidence Scheme. This is an approved trader scheme that aims to put those with care needs, such as the elderly, in touch with approved and vetted care sector professionals. Trading Standards assists Adult Social Care with the training of businesses with regard to their duties under various trading standards legislation including food. For example, by inspecting and training “meals on wheels” providers.
Contributing to national priorities
Trading Standards contributes to the national delivery of official food controls as set out in the FSA framework agreement by:
- Ensuring food is safe, fit to eat and free of contaminants.
- Protecting consumers from food fraud.
- Improving compliance in food businesses using advice, guidance and where necessary enforcement.
- Maintaining an accurate database of food businesses.
- Carrying out a programme of Food standards interventions at a frequency appropriate to risk.
- Responding to complaints about food.
- Ensuring that readily accessible advice is available and assistance is available to businesses and the public.
- Responding to food alerts by the FSA.
- Carrying out annual sampling programmes for compositional analysis, including participation in regional and national surveys.
- Carrying out food surveillance programmes appropriately taking into account emerging trends or areas of potential risk.
- Carrying out inspections of a variety of agricultural premises (farms, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, supermarkets) for feed hygiene regulation compliance. This is currently facilitated through the NTSB/TSSE feed grant and some work is carried out by specialised contract staff.
- Carrying out a feed sampling programme as part of the NTSB/TSSE feed grant work.
- Monitoring our port at Newhaven for feed imports through inspection of the daily manifests and undertake quarterly visits to verify no 3rd country imports are coming through the port.
We have regard to the following policy documents:
- Food Law Framework Agreement on Official Food and Feed Controls by Local Authorities no 5 April 2010.
- Regulators Code URN: BIS13/1016. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, April 2014.
- Food law Code of Practice. Food Standards Agency, 2017.
- East Sussex County Council Trading Standards Enforcement Policy.
Factors affecting food and feed service delivery
Of particular relevance to the delivery of our Food and Feed Service Plan are the following factors as they have the potential to impact on the limited resources that are available.
- Most food and feed manufacturers and other businesses are small `cottage' or `micro' industries that do not have access to specialist legal and compliance information. They will, therefore, tend to rely more heavily on advice and assistance from the service.
- Changes in food legislation, for example, allergen legislation. There has been a rise in allergen incidents reported nationally and locally. This is often an area which sees a cross over between Trading Standards and Environmental Health work although Trading Standards are the lead service for the enforcement of allergen legislation.
- As noted above the county is largely rural with the largest urban conurbations (Eastbourne & Hastings) on the coastal strip. Officers are required to travel relatively large distances to visit premises in rural areas.
- East Sussex has a passenger and trade port at Newhaven. This is the service from Dieppe so all items should be EC cleared. However, goods including feeding stuffs, foods and safety items are monitored for compliance.
- Many businesses in the tourist sector, such as restaurants and gift shops, are highly seasonal and with high turnover of ownership. If they are to be visited this must be done during the summer months; which is also when those businesses are at their busiest.
- Animal Health is a significant demand on the service, due both to the number of livestock farms and the possibility of illegal landings along the coast, including the marinas at Eastbourne and Rye and the port at Newhaven.
- In areas of deprivation, it is expected that there will be a higher incidence of problems such as food fraud (illegal alcohol), illegal tobacco products, non-status lending, poor nutrition, counterfeit goods, second hand products etc.
- An elderly population will be more vulnerable to rogue traders who frequently operate regionally or across borders.
- A high incidence of chronic scam victims engaging in fake lotteries by mail, mostly elderly in profile.
- Flooding remains a real possibility in the County as evidenced by the 2001 flood of Lewes with the attendant problems of rogue traders; consumer problems with insurance issues; and business continuity.
- The largest events in the county are the Eastbourne Airborne air show which takes place for 4 days in August; and the Lewes Bonfire celebrations on 5 November, which involves large firework displays involving the use of Category 4 fireworks at sites around the town. These are stored, prior to the event, in licenced stores which require inspection in accordance with the Explosives Regulations 2014.
- Popular farmers’ markets; European markets; and several large boot sales occur regularly throughout the year around the County, all which involve the sale of food.
3. Organisation: Trading Standards Organisational Structure
The Trading Standards Service is part of the Communities Economy & Transport Department of the County Council. An organisational structure plan is shown in detail in the Service Business Plan. The Service comes within the portfolio of the lead Cabinet Member for Communities and safety.
All members of Staff are part of the agile work force and can work at various council offices throughout the county and also at home.
The Head of Service for Communities has overall responsibility for the delivery of the food and feed service plan but the day to day responsibility lies with the team manger assisted by the lead officer for food and feed.
There are 3 food qualified officers (authorised officers) within the service one of which is designated as ‘Lead Food Officer’ in accordance with Paragraph 4.3.1 of the Food Standards Agency Food Code of Practice.
That officer, as well as dealing with complex food and feed matters, liaises with the analyst over sampling programmes, costs, etc., and advises the Service Management Team and other officers on such matters as the annual sampling plan and the impact of new legislation.
In accordance with Paragraph 2.1 of the Food Code of Practice, the Lead food officer also ensures that effective day-to-day liaison arrangements between the County and the District and Borough authorities are in place, documented and operating satisfactorily.
The Service has appointed Hampshire and Kent Scientific Services Public Protection Environment, Planning & Enforcement, Kent County Council, 8 Abbey Wood Road, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4YT as the Public Analyst and Agriculture Analyst on a 4 year contract. This service is shared with 2 neighbouring authorities, Brighton and Hove Council and West Sussex County Council.
The public analysts appointed under:
Food Safety Act 1990, Food Safety (Sampling and qualification) (England) Regulations 2013, Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
Agriculture Act 1970, Animal Feed (Hygiene, Sampling etc & Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2015, Feed (Hygiene and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2005.
Fertilizers (Sampling and Analysis) Regulations 1996, EC Fertilizer (England and Wales) Regulations 2006.
Mr Jonathon David Griffin BSc (Hons) MchemA CChem MRSC DMS
Mr Shayne Gordon John Dyer MchemA CChem MRSC DMS CSci
Ms Jennifer Ann Darrington Green BSc Msc MchemA CChem MRSC
Ms Carol Nicola Gibbons Msc MchemA CChem MRSC CSci FIFST
Ms Rachael Ann New MchemA CChem MRSC CSci
Mr Jonathon David Griffin BSc (Hons) MchemA CChem MRSC DMS
Deputy Agricultural Analysts
Mr Shayne Gordon John Dyer MchemA CChem MRSC DMS CSci
Ms Jennifer Ann Darrington Green BSc Msc MchemA CChem MRSC
Ms Carol Nicola Gibbons Msc MchemA CChem MRSC CSci FIFST
Ms Rachael Ann New MchemA CChem MRSC CSci
4. Scope of The Food and Feed Service
The food and feed service plan is delivered by food officers authorised in accordance with the FSA Code of Practice and the analysis of samples is undertaken by our appointed Public Analyst Services.
Trading Standards is responsible for delivering official controls on food and feed law including the investigation and enforcement action in cases that involve the following:
- Food fraud/adulteration
- Food composition including contaminants and residues
- Food advertising and presentation
- Food labelling
- Feed adulteration
- Feed composition
- Feed labelling and presentation
- Feed hygiene
Officers carry out food enforcement either as part of a comprehensive visit to trade premises when compliance with other legislation will be checked at the same time or as part of a targeted survey or project.
Food hygiene is the responsibility of colleagues in the District and Borough Councils. However by virtue of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 the Trading Standards has responsibility for the hygiene of food at primary producers.
5. Demands: Food/Feed Business Profile in East Sussex
The table below shows the number and type of food premises recorded in East Sussex against the FSA/LAEMS premises profiles.
- The majority of food premises in East Sussex are SMEs.
- A large proportion of catering and ethnic cuisine including Indian, Chinese, Asian and Polish.
- Due to the size of the tourism industry, a full range of holiday accommodation is available within the county from small B&B’s to large seafront hotels and holiday parks.
- There are many seasonal businesses such as ice cream vendors; takeaways, sweets and confectionary retailers.
- Due to the age of the population “Meals on Wheels” providers are also a feature – local or part of national franchises.
- There is still an active fishing industry in Hastings, Eastbourne and Newhaven.
- Food and Feed of EU origin is imported via Newhaven port.
- Livestock farms make up the bulk of the rural businesses.
- There is a once weekly livestock market at Hailsham.
- East Sussex has a licensed slaughterhouse at Heathfield.
- East Sussex is host to large scale public events where food is traded from mobile operators.
- Farmers and continental markets are held weekly throughout the year across the county where food is traded through mobile operators.
6. Service Delivery
Locally, the service has reformed its operations in the light of the Hampton Review, the statutory Regulator’s Compliance Code; the work of the Regulatory delivery and the move towards intelligence-led enforcement using the Integrated Operating model (IOM). In addition to this, over recent years there have been significant cuts to the Service resulting in a reduction in food officers (4 officers). At present there are 3 food-qualified authorised officers, which include the Lead Food Officer. All officers are authorised to enforce a wide variety of trading standards legislation and are deployed in other areas of work. For Feed, there is 1 lead feed officer, who is also the food lead and a multifunctional officer. Where available, the service will use regionally available qualified feed officers for routine feed hygiene work.
Positive interventions are key to improving compliance with food law by food business operators. The range of possible interventions allows authorised officers to use their professional judgement to apply a proportionate level of regulatory and enforcement response to each food business. Interventions are applied in a risk-based manner, such that more intensive regulation is directed at those food businesses that present the greatest risk of non-compliance.
Interventions are defined as activities that are designed to monitor, support and increase food law compliance within a food establishment. They include, but are not restricted to, “Official Controls”. “Official controls” are defined in Community legislation (1). They are any form of control for the verification of compliance with food law.
Methods and techniques for carrying out tasks related to official controls are specified in Community Legislation (2). These include:
- Sampling and analysis.
In addition to official controls, interventions also include other activities that are effective in supporting food businesses to achieve compliance with food law, such as the provision of targeted education and advice that takes place at food establishments; or information and intelligence gathering which may inform local sampling regimes and enforcement activity.
Interventions that are official controls provide sufficient information to Food Authorities to establish that food-related activities carried out at food establishments comply with food law. In line with the general obligations set out in Community Legislation (3), we carry out interventions at all stages of production, processing and distribution to establish whether the requirements of relevant food law are being met.
As a food authority we have a duty to ensure that a suitable intervention programme is appropriately resourced. The frequency of interventions are determined by reference to available staffing resources, priority planning and with regard to the food law code of practice.
7. Food and Feed Standards Inspection 2018/19
Inspection Risk Rating Policy
All food and feed premises are rated in accordance to risk. We currently use the LACORS risk rating system applied via our database Civica APP, although we follow the requirements of the Food Law Code of Practice; and take into account the principles of the NTSB risk model.
We undertake to visit all of our high risk premises. We will not undertake routine inspection of medium and low risk premises unless intelligence indicates a need to. However, these premises are targeted in other ways, including sampling programmes and targeted business advice seminars. Additionally, for all medium and low risk premises, we adopt an intelligence led approach in line with the Integrated Operating Model (IOM). As with all enforcement activities we ensure that we only target limited resources on those businesses that cause the greatest detriment to East Sussex consumers and legitimate businesses. This is done through the use of regular team meetings. Using current intelligence data we aim to provide rapid response to emerging issues. Regular case review meetings are also held as required to monitor the progress of any enforcement action that that is being taken.
Inspections and the Food Law Code of Practice
The planned activities for 2018-2019, have been developed having regard to the Food Law Code of Practice and the Feed Law Code of Practice published by the Food Standards Agency. The inspection policy outlined above does not directly follow the relevant risk assessment schemes in that there will be no routine inspection programme followed for medium risk premises. It will therefore not be in full compliance with the Codes of Practice however we are confident that this approach is reasonable and pragmatic based on all factors including the resources available and the likelihood of non-compliance.
East Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards Service aims to contribute to the promotion and development of a safe, fair and equitable trading environment for all consumers and businesses in East Sussex. See Enforcement Policy.
8. Food and Feed Standards Sampling 2018/19
Samples are taken to ensure that food complies with the relevant legislation as regards composition, quality, adulteration, misleading claims and general labelling and description issues. All food samples are procured in accordance with relevant Codes of Practice made under the Food Safety Act 1990, The Food Safety (Sampling and qualification) (England) Regulations 2013 and The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
Feed and Fertiliser samples are taken in accordance with the Agriculture Act 1970, Animal Feed (Hygiene, Sampling etc & Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2015, Feed (Hygiene and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2005, Fertilizers (Sampling and Analysis) Regulations 1996 and EC Fertilizer (England and Wales) Regulations 2006.
Samples will be taken following the sample project protocols and relevant Trading Standards service documented procedures. Samples may be formal or informal as appropriate.
Our sampling programme is documented annually. This policy will be made available to all relevant business stakeholders and consumers. Food sampling is targeted, risk based, intelligence led and primarily directed towards local manufacturers and producers.
Food samples will be procured within East Sussex in accordance with our business plan and sampling programme requirements. The areas that food samples are sourced from are:
- Food Manufacturer/Packer/Wholesaler/Importer including Primary Authority’ businesses - authorised officers may procure samples of ingredients, part produced products and final products as part of food standards inspections.
- Retailers - authorised officers may procure samples of food (including ingredients where appropriate) for the purpose of verifying compliance with relevant legislation at any appropriate time.
- Projects - we will participate in appropriate food sampling projects which are coordinated nationally and regionally, by Food Standards Agency (FSA) or Trading Standards South East (TSSE). Samples will be procured as per the protocol for each individual project.
- Complaints – Complainants’ samples will only be submitted for analysis when to do so will provide good evidence for enforcement purposes. Follow-up, or control, samples of complainants’ samples will be procured as appropriate.
- Food incidents: Food samples may also be taken on a reactive basis in response to food incidents such as alerts issued by the FSA.
Other than samples that are tested or assessed internally, all samples will be submitted to the duly appointed Public/ Agriculture Analyst.
Animal feedstuff samples are procured in accordance with our business plan and operational requirements. The areas for animal feedstuff samples that can be sourced are:
- Feedstuff Manufacturers - Samples will normally be procured as part of an agricultural standards inspection.
- Feed Materials - Samples will normally be procured as part of an agricultural standards inspection.
- On-Farm Mixers/On-Farm Purchases on inspection - Samples will normally be procured as part of an agricultural standards inspection.
- Complaints – Samples can be taken of feed materials as a result of a complaint.
- Other than samples that are tested or assessed internally, all samples will be submitted to the duly appointed Agricultural Analyst.
Fertiliser samples are procured in accordance with our business plan and operational requirements. The areas for fertiliser sampling could be procured as follows:
- Fertiliser Manufacturers - samples will be procured in most cases as part of an inspection.
- On-Farm Purchases on inspection - samples will be procured in most cases as part of an inspection.
- Complaints – Samples of fertilisers can be taken as a result of a complaint.
Other than samples that are tested or assessed internally, all samples will be submitted to the duly appointed Agricultural Analyst.
9. Planned inspection and Sampling Programme 2018/2019
Food sampling programmes - local and regional
Sampling projects will look at:
- Butter authenticity.
- Spice adulteration.
- Milk and egg allergens.
- Cooking and condiment sauces compliance.
- Fish oils and omega 3 claims.
- Allergen compliance at caterers.
- Colours in food compliance for caterers.
- Dried fruit for ochratoxins.
- Health claims in foods.
- Pesticides in fruit and veg.
- Food supplements.
- Online food sales.
Local Feed Samples taken as part of National Feed Sampling grant work programme.
Resources: 0.25 FTE staff
Legislation guidance and advice - advice and implementation
Business training workshops: food information regulations, particularly allergen compliance and other key pieces of legislation.
Chargeable business advice on food standards and food labelling compliance.
Development of primary authority partnerships with businesses primarily located in East Sussex.
Membership of BAASP (Business advice and support partnership), a partnership made up of 5 Trading Standards services set up to provide business advice and training across the membership regions.
Resources: Allocated out to food qualified officers
Estimates are based previous year's figures.
10. Resources: The Food and Feed Budget 2018/2019
The Trading Standards budget for 2018/2019 is £668, 500.
- Sampling and analysis fees at the Agriculture and Public Analyst Laboratory of account for £15,000
- Staff costs run at approximately 1 .0FTE plus on-costs.
- The total spend on food is around 7% of the current budget.
Staff development and training plans are considered annually and produced to ensure that all staff engaged in the Food and Feedingstuffs Plan are qualified and each maintain their competence through a structured CPD programme. The lead Food Officer and authorised officers will have at least 20 hours of core CPD, 10 hours of which is invested in core food training.
Officers for feed will also receive 10 hours CPD.
This is monitored through monthly reviews and annual appraisals.
11. Review of the Food and Feed Procedures
The food and feed procedures are held on the internal shared folders and routinely reviewed by internally for accuracy and updated as necessary, with responsibility for the procedures resting with the Lead Officer for Food and the Team Manager.
The Service also takes part in relevant regional and national inspection and sampling programmes and reports its findings to the various national food and feed agencies both quarterly and yearly through the legal required mechanisms of reporting.
- Article 2(1) of Regulation 882/2004
- Article 10 of Regulation 882/2004
- Article 3 of Regulation 882/2004