Trading Standards Officers have collected almost 100 samples of food from a variety of outlets, including takeaways, supermarkets, independent retailers and manufacturers, all of which have been sent to a public analyst for testing.
Analysis was carried out to assess authenticity in respect of meat species, types of honey, as well as nutrition, health, allergen or nut “free from” claims.
Results of analysis show almost half of the sampled food items were found to be incorrect in some area of food standards, such as labelling or incorrect meat declared or unauthorised claims.
Kevin Jones, Wrexham’s Principal Manager for Trading Standards and Chair of the North Wales Heads of Trading Standards group said “All north Wales authorities took part in this project, which was supported by the Food Standards Agency. The results highlight that there are issues with the food consumers are buying. While most areas of non-compliance can be attributed to incorrect or unclear labelling, there were occasions where officers found foods that were not as described, such as different meat than requested or food containing nuts or gluten products that were not declared in the ingredients list. This can be worrying for consumers, particularly those who suffer with food allergies or intolerances.”
He added, “Appropriate action to protect consumers has been taken by the relevant Trading Standards teams where samples were found to be unsatisfactory.”
Emlyn Jones, Denbighshire’s Public Protection Manager and part of the North Wales’ Heads of Public Protection Group said “Although it is pleasing to see that a collaborative project by officers from each local authority is able to deliver meaningful results, it is disappointing to see so many samples fail. As well as taking appropriate action, the results are shared on a national database which helps identify emerging food fraud issues and the data can be used to inform future sampling programmes. It is the Food Business Operator’s responsibility to ensure food is safe and that it is what it says it is. Local authorities across north Wales will continue to sample food and take action where necessary.”
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) supports local authority food sampling programmes carried out, as part of its commitment in its 2015-2020 strategy to ensure food is safe and that food is what it says it is. Food sampling forms an integral part of local authority food law enforcement and it can provide useful information to help effective enforcement of food law and contribute towards improved food safety and standards.
Any business requiring more information about food issues should contact their local Public Protection office. Consumers who want to report concerns they have in respect of food standards can do so via the Citizens Advice Customer Service on 08454 04 05 06 or for the Welsh Language Service 08454 04 05 05. Businesses or consumers with food hygiene issues should contact their local authority.