Food law enforcement plan
The Authority receives ‘food alerts’, ‘food alert updates’ and ‘information notifications’ from the Food Standards Agency on a routine basis.
Action will be taken as appropriate in response to all food alerts and food alert updates. In doing so the Authority will have due regard to the Food Standards Agency Code of Practice and Practice Guidance, along with internal procedures.
Depending on the nature of the problem, responses will often include contacting relevant retailers and caterers within the County to ensure that they are aware of the problem and suggested action, such as the need to withdraw affected products from sale. Advice may also be given to local consumers and press releases will be considered in certain cases, depending on the extent of publicity initiated by the manufacturer or by the Food Standards Agency and the likelihood of product being available for use or sale within Pembrokeshire.
Records of action taken will be maintained.
79 food alerts, for action where appropriate, were received during 2021-22.
Food alerts for information which relate to incorrect allergen labelling are sent separately. There were 88 Allergy Alerts issued in 2021-22.
Whilst it is difficult to predict the number of food alerts that might be received in any given year, there has been a significant decline in the percentage of food alerts requiring action, and the majority require no intervention by Pembrokeshire County Council. However, where action is required, this can be time consuming.
3.9 Liaison with Other Organisations
The Authority aims to work jointly and consistently with other local authorities by participating in national and regional groups set up for that purpose.
3.9.1 Expert panels, task groups and other professional groups/committees
A number of specialist Expert Panels have been established in Wales. Of particular relevance to the food safety function is the Food Safety Expert Panel, which is attended by the Lead EHO (Food Safety). The Food Standards Agency (Wales) is also represented at these meetings. Discussions on enforcement issues and service developments take place at Panel meetings to ensure consistency of approach. Beneath this Technical Panel are three regional Task Groups for food safety that act as working groups to develop policies, procedures or prepare recommendations based upon investigative work, for consideration by the Expert Panel. The Task Group for food safety is also attended by the Lead EHO (Food Safety).
The Food Standards Agency in Wales have also developed a Wales Wide Steering Group on the implementation of Food Hygiene Ratings legislation in Wales, which has been set up to help monitor and review how the legislation is being implemented, and to help the Agency make recommendations for improvements and future developments to the Rating Scheme. The Lead EHO (Food Safety) is a member of this Steering Group.
The Communicable Disease Expert Panel and Task Groups operate under the same arrangement. These are both attended by the Public Protection Manager (Health and Consumer Protection), with communicable disease control being relevant to many areas within the remit of the Health and Consumer Protection Section.
The Lead EHO (Food Safety) also attends the Welsh Food Microbiological Forum, established to co-ordinate microbiological food sampling activities across Wales.
Food and agricultural standards co-ordination and advice is provided in Wales by the Food Standards and Agriculture Group for Wales. The Lead TSO (Food Standards) attends meetings of the WHOTS Food Standards and Labelling Group for Wales
The Lead EHO (Port Health) attends the local Shellfish Liaison Committee, established to co-ordinate shellfish sampling, classification and enforcement issues (in addition to the Port Health Expert Panel which considers food hygiene and infectious disease on-board vessels, imported food controls, etc.).
3.9.2 Public Health Wales and Health and Safety Executive
Contact takes place, as and when required, with representatives of Public Health Wales with respect to the prevention of communicable disease, in particular with the Council’s appointed ‘proper officers’ (Consultants in Communicable Disease Control and Consultants in Health Protection), other colleagues at the local Health Protection Team and microbiology staff at the Public Health Wales Laboratory, Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen. The Health and Safety Team leads on the investigation of zoonotic illness associated with other work-related activities/workplaces, e.g. regarding the spread of zoonoses on farms etc., and other non-food related infectious diseases e.g. Legionnaires’ Disease, in liaison with inspectors from Health and Safety Executive, as appropriate.
3.9.3 Other external agencies
Liaison is maintained with other agencies and bodies in a variety of ways. Lists of contacts are maintained for each specialist area of work, and regular enquiries and contacts occur with relevant agencies. Of particular relevance to the food safety and standards functions are contacts with the Food Standards Agency Wales, the Welsh Food Fraud Unit and the Animal and Plant Health Agency. These organisations have a role to play in the enforcement of food legislation and the control of zoonoses, and are consulted at both a local and regional level. Liaison also occurs with the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in respect of the classification of shellfish beds and sampling regimes. Liaison also takes place with the Care Inspectorate for Wales, in relation to food safety and standards issues and the management of outbreaks in care homes etc.
3.9.4 Professional bodies
Professional officers are represented in Wales by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and Trading Standards Institute, as appropriate. The CIEH Welsh Council provides a further link in the development of effective liaison with local authorities and also provides a level of training for staff.
3.9.5 Internal liaison
Liaison takes place with the Council’s Catering Division regarding food safety and standards compliance in Council run schools and care homes, and with the Professional Officer for Governor Services with respect to infectious disease control in schools and incident management. Communication also takes place with respect to planning, building control and licensing applications which may warrant input from the Team; to ensure that land charge registers are maintained; and, that problems with or pollution and waste issues pests in food premises, identified by pest control officers, are drawn to the attention of the Team.