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What should Trading Standards' priorities be with regards to Product Safety and Food Standards?

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Hi everyone. I work for a local authority Trading Standards department. We will be sitting down in the next couple of weeks and figuring out where to focus our attention in 2017. I thought it might be… Read More
aronandjim Avatar
5m, 2d agoPosted 5 months, 2 days ago
Hi everyone. I work for a local authority Trading Standards department. We will be sitting down in the next couple of weeks and figuring out where to focus our attention in 2017. I thought it might be useful to get some public input.

I'm part of the Food Standards (note: this does not include hygiene as that's dealt with by Environmental Health) and Product Safety teams, so I'm looking for those types of issues.

By way of example- we'v recently looked at issues like illicit alcohol, meat substitution at takeaways, allergen information, hoverboards, part worn tyres, etc.

Are there any particular issues you would like to see addressed?
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aronandjim Avatar
5m, 2d agoPosted 5 months, 2 days ago
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#1
Making it mandatory to display take away hygiene ratings on premises and on sites like Just Eat would be good.
#2
Well near me at quidbake the staff never use gloves when handling food they blow their nose wipe their faces all they say is nobody else has a problem then straight away picking bacon up or whatever. I thought it was basic hygiene to wear gloves and use utensils for handling food :( I obviously don't go anymore..

Edited By: joanne10 on Dec 22, 2016 16:33
#3
Clear labelling on reduced size packaging.
For example if something was 100g then reduced down to 90g there should be a period of time where the retailer or manufacturer has to state the size has changed either on the packaging itself or on the price tag.
#4
joanne10
Well near me at quidbake the staff never use gloves when handling food they blow their nose wipe their faces all they say is nobody else has a problem then straight away picking bacon up or whatever. I thought it was basic hygiene to wear gloves and use utensils for handling food :( I obviously don't go anymore..
Have you ever watched a cooking program in a professional kitchen, how often do you see gloves being worn? Or on Saturday kitchen or any other cooking program?
#5
It would help a great many people if you investigated RVTL and Equinox who trick people into entering a contract by offering a free sample
#6
MIDURIX
joanne10
Well near me at quidbake the staff never use gloves when handling food they blow their nose wipe their faces all they say is nobody else has a problem then straight away picking bacon up or whatever. I thought it was basic hygiene to wear gloves and use utensils for handling food :( I obviously don't go anymore..
Have you ever watched a cooking program in a professional kitchen, how often do you see gloves being worn? Or on Saturday kitchen or any other cooking program?


I agree nobody uses gloves at home plus how do you know when the gloves were last changed could be manky lol
#7
Throw out CE self testing, and go back to proper independent testing labs.
#8
Proper cheese on pizzas and not cheese type substitute- doesn't say that on menu.
#9
joedastudd
Clear labelling on reduced size packaging.
For example if something was 100g then reduced down to 90g there should be a period of time where the retailer or manufacturer has to state the size has changed either on the packaging itself or on the price tag.
....and make it highly visible.
Too many companies are ripping us off with reduced sized products.
#10
There are plenty of bad practises going on out there, you really don't need our help any much more than the 2016 stats that came through your door.
One point though I will make is this.
Try and reduce your efforts looking for **** and spend a little more time looking for gold. **** is easy to find - but gold is much harder. In other words look for the good traders and the good practises - promote them as those type of traders that others should look up to. Get more proactive in offering free training in customer services and other topics that make the new, under confident traders feel that much better.
#11
2 things
1 stop ebay and Amazon from allowing Chinese sellers from pretending they are based in the UK but are actually falsifying their credentials eg vat registration, address, company registration return address, UK warehouse etc. These people are avoiding vat, shipping in goods that are not up to the El standards and giving the customers the runaround when things go wrong. There is a very good website that details the companies, their false vat registration and false/dodgy registration.
http://www.vatfraud.org/vat-evading-ebayers/

2 Force eBay and Amazon to take responsibility for electrical items that are sold on their site that are counterfeit and have fake ce marking. Despite reporting them, they don't take decisive action.

Not only are these people endangering consumers they are putting British businesses under unacceptable pressure to compete against shoddy suppliers.
#12
Laura Palmer
2 things
1 stop ebay and Amazon from allowing Chinese sellers from pretending they are based in the UK but are actually falsifying their credentials eg vat registration, address, company registration return address, UK warehouse etc. These people are avoiding vat, shipping in goods that are not up to the El standards and giving the customers the runaround when things go wrong. There is a very good website that details the companies, their false vat registration and false/dodgy registration. http://www.vatfraud.org/vat-evading-ebayers/
2 Force eBay and Amazon to take responsibility for electrical items that are sold on their site that are counterfeit and have fake ce marking. Despite reporting them, they don't take decisive action.
Not only are these people endangering consumers they are putting British businesses under unacceptable pressure to compete against shoddy suppliers.

To add to point two. Help educate people on the difference between the 'CE' mark and 'China Export' logos as many people don't know the difference.

http://siloscordoba.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/CE-and-China-Export.jpg
#13
Pumping water into bacon.
#14
MIDURIX
joanne10
Well near me at quidbake the staff never use gloves when handling food they blow their nose wipe their faces all they say is nobody else has a problem then straight away picking bacon up or whatever. I thought it was basic hygiene to wear gloves and use utensils for handling food :( I obviously don't go anymore..
Have you ever watched a cooking program in a professional kitchen, how often do you see gloves being worn? Or on Saturday kitchen or any other cooking program?
The point I was making was the staff never wash their hands or wipe them in between handling raw or cooked foods let alone the one who constantly has dirty tissues she has in her hands to blow her nose. We always wash our hands at home before handling food. And yes I have been served blood on the side of the bread cake before. So yes I prefer someone to wear gloves.
#15
Recent test purchases in Bradford show illicit cigarettes are readily available at many independent shops, so further crackdowns on this might be necessary.

Related to this, safety of e-liquids would be something longterm to investigate given the wide variety of offerings and retailers.

It would also be interesting to look at hire cars and how they get sublet and sublet, then end up in the hands of people who should never get insurance to drive them.

I'm not sure how far your remit goes, but also the de-DPFing of diesel cars which isn't obvious but affects air quality.


Edited By: cootuk2 on Dec 23, 2016 01:11
#16
joedastudd
Clear labelling on reduced size packaging.
For example if something was 100g then reduced down to 90g there should be a period of time where the retailer or manufacturer has to state the size has changed either on the packaging itself or on the price tag.

Sambat
joedastudd
Clear labelling on reduced size packaging.
For example if something was 100g then reduced down to 90g there should be a period of time where the retailer or manufacturer has to state the size has changed either on the packaging itself or on the price tag.
....and make it highly visible.
Too many companies are ripping us off with reduced sized products.

I actually disagree with this. You need to look at the suppliers side of things also (thinking outside of profit). Our nanny state has been placing pressure upon suppliers and the press about the sugar/salt/whatever they picking on this month to meet new guidelines/recommendations. The press/consumers also then complain dare anyone think about changing recipes. Simple solution is make the portion sizes smaller to meet those guidelines and to be able to say "we have reduced the sugar/salt/whatever by x% across our range now. Take another example of this of when the press decided to hammer Starbucks and point out to everyone how much sugar was in a certain drink. Wow whoever would have thought a hot chocolate contained loads of sugar, anyhow I digress. Now they have stopped selling high sugar content drinks in the largest size and introduced a new smaller size, regardless of the fact anyone can go over and add as much sugar as they like to any drink themselves but if they dare sell it that way get hammered by press/government.

I agree with tardytortise in spending more time praising those who are doing it right everything you ever see coming out is always negative. As they said more proactive and less negativity. More time spend educating the consumer and the suppliers and letting people make own choices.
I see you mentioned part worn tyres, was anything done to educate the public about the dangers and pitfalls of buying the likes of these or let me guess all the time was spend looking at those selling them rather than educating the people that buy them. Still see many people here on tyre deals commenting about how much cheaper they buy from xxx as part worn and it being the best way to go.
Mobile phone accessory stores mainly popups in shopping centres selling mobile phone cases that you can buy on ebay from China (or direct yourself) for less than £1 being sold for stupid pricing not meeting any standards along with chargers etc.

More transparency on so called "price matching/guarantees". Most retailers now stock models numbers which have been specifically made for the group so with a price match/policy that will never happen since the model number isn't actually sold elsewhere.
Same for groups selling brand names which they actually own themselves claiming ridiculous RRP and savings when really the product was made to be sold at that price point.

On tech products a clear year of manufacture as it is not always obvious that new TV (or whatever) you are buying for example is actually a 4 year old model. So making them place a year/month of release on the product would be a great idea. This also ties in with an advertised RRP/Saving. It is easy when buying something like this looking at two models both same price, but one says "save £10" other says "now 1/2 price", most people would presume the 1/2 price TV is the better model since after all it is half price, but in reality that TV at 1/2 price was that price, but when it came out 4 years ago over the other model just only just came out with the latest tech etc.


Edited By: cecilmcroberts on Dec 23, 2016 02:04: adding more
#17
MIDURIX
joanne10
Well near me at quidbake the staff never use gloves when handling food they blow their nose wipe their faces all they say is nobody else has a problem then straight away picking bacon up or whatever. I thought it was basic hygiene to wear gloves and use utensils for handling food :( I obviously don't go anymore..
Have you ever watched a cooking program in a professional kitchen, how often do you see gloves being worn? Or on Saturday kitchen or any other cooking program?
I work at Subway and we are constantly changing our gloves...
#18
cecilmcroberts
joedastudd
Clear labelling on reduced size packaging.
For example if something was 100g then reduced down to 90g there should be a period of time where the retailer or manufacturer has to state the size has changed either on the packaging itself or on the price tag.
Sambat
joedastudd
Clear labelling on reduced size packaging.
For example if something was 100g then reduced down to 90g there should be a period of time where the retailer or manufacturer has to state the size has changed either on the packaging itself or on the price tag.
....and make it highly visible.
Too many companies are ripping us off with reduced sized products.
I actually disagree with this. You need to look at the suppliers side of things also (thinking outside of profit). Our nanny state has been placing pressure upon suppliers and the press about the sugar/salt/whatever they picking on this month to meet new guidelines/recommendations. The press/consumers also then complain dare anyone think about changing recipes. Simple solution is make the portion sizes smaller to meet those guidelines and to be able to say "we have reduced the sugar/salt/whatever by x% across our range now. Take another example of this of when the press decided to hammer Starbucks and point out to everyone how much sugar was in a certain drink. Wow whoever would have thought a hot chocolate contained loads of sugar, anyhow I digress. Now they have stopped selling high sugar content drinks in the largest size and introduced a new smaller size, regardless of the fact anyone can go over and add as much sugar as they like to any drink themselves but if they dare sell it that way get hammered by press/government.
I agree with tardytortise in spending more time praising those who are doing it right everything you ever see coming out is always negative. As they said more proactive and less negativity. More time spend educating the consumer and the suppliers and letting people make own choices.
It doesn't mean the consumer should have to pay the same price for a reduced sized bar whether its a cost saving exercise or to try to appear healthy.
When they reduce the size of the product they either keep the packaging the same or modify the new packaging to look the same as the older size.
It borders on false advertising, it's akin to the "promotion/discounts" supermarkets used to run where by they would inflate the price of an item for a day then have it on sale as 50% off the next. That got heavily restricted so I can't see why they should be allowed to get away with stealth "shinkflation"
#19
wolf47wolf
Proper cheese on pizzas and not cheese type substitute- doesn't say that on menu.
We have actually done some work on this in the last couple of years- sampling and testing the 'cheese' used on pizzas locally. We did find an issue with traders using 'cheese analogue' without making it clear to consumers. Hopefully that issue has now been curtailed in our area- but if you suspect it's still a problem where you live, or if you have an complaint about a specific trader, it might be worth contacting your local Trading Standards?
#20
tardytortoise
There are plenty of bad practises going on out there, you really don't need our help any much more than the 2016 stats that came through your door.
One point though I will make is this.
Try and reduce your efforts looking for **** and spend a little more time looking for gold. **** is easy to find - but gold is much harder. In other words look for the good traders and the good practises - promote them as those type of traders that others should look up to. Get more proactive in offering free training in customer services and other topics that make the new, under confident traders feel that much better.
Thanks. We do try and promote good practice, for example we have recently given local traders free training on allergens. Personally I would like to be able to issue good traders with some sort of approval mark so customers can make more informed choices- but it's tricky to do for legal reasons and the last thing a local authority needs at the moment is to end up getting dragged through the courts.
#21
Peegy
Pumping water into bacon.
Thanks, I'll list this for discussion by our group.
#22
cootuk2
Recent test purchases in Bradford show illicit cigarettes are readily available at many independent shops, so further crackdowns on this might be necessary.

Related to this, safety of e-liquids would be something longterm to investigate given the wide variety of offerings and retailers.

It would also be interesting to look at hire cars and how they get sublet and sublet, then end up in the hands of people who should never get insurance to drive them.

I'm not sure how far your remit goes, but also the de-DPFing of diesel cars which isn't obvious but affects air quality.

Thanks. We have had issues with illicit tobacco and e-cigs. Definitely something we will continue to look at.
#23
cecilmcroberts
joedastudd
Clear labelling on reduced size packaging.
For example if something was 100g then reduced down to 90g there should be a period of time where the retailer or manufacturer has to state the size has changed either on the packaging itself or on the price tag.
Sambat
joedastudd
Clear labelling on reduced size packaging.
For example if something was 100g then reduced down to 90g there should be a period of time where the retailer or manufacturer has to state the size has changed either on the packaging itself or on the price tag.
....and make it highly visible.
Too many companies are ripping us off with reduced sized products.
I actually disagree with this. You need to look at the suppliers side of things also (thinking outside of profit). Our nanny state has been placing pressure upon suppliers and the press about the sugar/salt/whatever they picking on this month to meet new guidelines/recommendations. The press/consumers also then complain dare anyone think about changing recipes. Simple solution is make the portion sizes smaller to meet those guidelines and to be able to say "we have reduced the sugar/salt/whatever by x% across our range now. Take another example of this of when the press decided to hammer Starbucks and point out to everyone how much sugar was in a certain drink. Wow whoever would have thought a hot chocolate contained loads of sugar, anyhow I digress. Now they have stopped selling high sugar content drinks in the largest size and introduced a new smaller size, regardless of the fact anyone can go over and add as much sugar as they like to any drink themselves but if they dare sell it that way get hammered by press/government.
I agree with tardytortise in spending more time praising those who are doing it right everything you ever see coming out is always negative. As they said more proactive and less negativity. More time spend educating the consumer and the suppliers and letting people make own choices.
I see you mentioned part worn tyres, was anything done to educate the public about the dangers and pitfalls of buying the likes of these or let me guess all the time was spend looking at those selling them rather than educating the people that buy them. Still see many people here on tyre deals commenting about how much cheaper they buy from xxx as part worn and it being the best way to go.
A few years ago we would just conduct test purchases of tyres and prosecute businesses not complying. More recently however we have been working with businesses and, after taking account of their feedback, we'v been developing some training/reference material for them.
We do put out information to the public but we don't have the resources for big publicity campaigns. We're basically limited to social media and press releases.
#24
Thanks for all the responses guys- some good ideas.
I agree that the downsizing of products can be misleading - I'll look into what could potentially be done.
I do only work for a local authority though- we just enforce existing regulations, we don't have responsibility for introducing any new requirements.

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