Food Standards requirements cover the quality, composition, labelling, presentation and advertising of food.
There are many regulations in force regarding food information and general labelling requirements, labelling of specific products and controlling contaminants or allergens in food. These laws ensure that food offered for sale to consumers is labelled correctly and its composition meets the legal requirements.
Food standards inspections are carried out at the same time as hygiene interventions and officers routinely monitor the information that is provided online via websites and social media.
Food businesses must ensure that products they sell are labelled appropriately and all information required by the legislation is given to customers, either on packaging, labels, notices, invoices or menus or verbally where permitted.
Proprietors must also ensure that any claims made regarding their foods are accurate and can be verified by scientific and/or documented evidence (for example: fresh, traditional, original, home-made)
Food enforcement officers have powers to take action against food businesses who fail to comply with the law.
This enforcement action is contained in the Food Law Enforcement Policy and Procedure and can range from a warning letter to referring major deficiencies to the Procurator Fiscal for prosecution. The courts can impose severe penalties for non-compliance.
The purpose of a food standards inspection is to:
- Check that businesses are meeting legal requirements relating to the quality, composition, labelling, presentation and advertising of food and of materials or articles in contact with food
- Ensure that food labelling does not confuse or mislead consumers, that the food complies with compositional standards and does not contain non-permitted or excessive levels of additives, contaminants or residues
- Determine what action, if any, requires to be taken
At the conclusion of every inspection the officer will discuss with the manager and/or proprietor any contravention of food law discovered, corrective action necessary and recommendations of best practice considered appropriate.
A written report confirming the inspection findings is produced and given to the food business operator in accordance with the Food Law Intervention Policy and Procedure.