Jacqui Angus referred to her previously sent report and to the notes on The Feeding Stuffs (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2009 which were to come into force on 5 March 2009.
The Feed (Hygiene and Enforcement) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2009
These were in draft form and would amend the 2005 Regulations to allow Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID) staff to carry out feed hygiene inspections. A consultation exercise is to take place on 20 February with a three month deadline for responses. The Scottish Government want SGRPID staff to perform cross-compliance inspections on farms. In terms of qualifications, enforcement officer training requirements will be similar to those for Food Hygiene.
The Feeding Stuffs (Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Regulations 2009
These Regulations have been drafted to set maximum permitted levels for a range of coccidostats and histomonostats in feed. They have to be implemented by 1 July and go out to consultation. Kate Connelly asked if we might sample for these substances in future. Jacqui Angus stated that we would be able to do so. Marzena Young stated that currently there was zero tolerance for levels of these substances but that this was not practical. Presumably tolerances would have to be set. Jane White stated that they were not routinely tested for and would respond on this issue. Marzena Young stated that industry were likely to be looking for regulatory limits.
Action: Jane White
Food Law Code Of Practice
Jacqui Angus referred to her report on this subject. The consultation had ended, with 20 responses received, 14 from local authorities (Stirling & Clackmannanshire having submitted a late entry). There was a majority supporting joint risk rating, but little support for the qualifications proposals or the timescale allowed for obtaining qualifications. The consultation responses were still being analysed.
The qualifications issue was being considered and might be taken out of Annex 10 of the CoP altogether, with lead feed/food officers having to ensure that any officer enforcing primary production Food and Feed Law is competent. There would be no lead officer for primary production and responsibility would lie with the individual Food and Feed lead officers. There was a primary production contact for each local authority who might not necessarily be a lead officer. Brian Wilson asked why there was a difference regarding qualifications in Scotland. Jacqui Angus stated that in England and Wales, Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) enforce food legislation, which is not the case in Scotland. George Begg stated that in England and Wales, TSOs enforced food standards, not food safety, which were not the same things.
Brian Wilson stated that Scotland’s Environment and Rural Services (SEARS) did not currently apply to farms, and local authorities were having to reduce visits. He thought that it was surely up to local authorities to decide on the work that they do.
The meeting then discussed the difference between Scotland and England and Wales in relation to TSOs and food enforcement. Brian Wilson explained the current state of play regarding qualifications. Kate Connelly said that they should be arguing the case with their Directors and that this was not a function of the FSA. Marzena Young stated that TSOs were authorised to inspect feed producers for approvals and questioned why there should be a problem with their qualifications to inspect primary producers. Kate Connelly said that the FSA was trying to resolve the conflict in this area by allowing local authorities to appoint staff. Jacqui Angus said that the FSA were trying to maintain a balanced approach to this. Robert Watson stated that he had spoken with his Environmental Health counterparts and that they were quite happy for TSOs to do this job. Maureen McLarty said that South Ayrshire were conducting joint visits to 'test the water'. Stephen Thomson confirmed that Midlothian were also doing this. Maureen McLarty asked whether they could simply obtain the food competence module of the qualification.
Brian Wilson asked why food officers should be given the task of deciding who is competent to conduct primary production food visits on farms. FSA seemed to be giving Environmental Health the lead role in this. It was clarified that the lead food officer should determine who is competent to carry out the enforcement of primary production food hygiene and that the lead feed officer should determine who is competent to carry out enforcement of primary production feed hygiene. Kate Connelly stated that expressions of concern ought to come from their professional body, the Trading Standards Institute (TSI). Alison Bannister asked whether the lead officer grade for primary production was being removed and whether only lead officers for food and feed would remain. Jacqui Angus replied that this was the case. Brian Wilson thought that this was the FSA effectively saying that it is the lead officer for food hygiene that has the authority, and that there was a risk that Environmental Health would declare that TSOs are not competent to enforce any food aspect of sampling or seizing on farm: change was not the responsibility of the FSA and he believed that the 2006 consultation document had been totally ignored.
Brian Wilson questioned whether the Code of Practice consultation was compliant as the questions did not appear on the FSA website. Jacqui Angus confirmed that the questions did appear in the main text of the website.
Marzena Young stated that the qualifications aspect was a significant change and asked whether there would therefore be further consultation on this.
Jacqui Angus would respond.
Action: Jacqui Angus
Jacqui Angus would confirm that the feed audit scheduled for 15 June 2009 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, would not take place in Scotland.
Action: Jacqui Angus
Animal Feed Law Enforcement Liaison Group Meeting (AFLELG)
The next meeting was to take place at the FSA Scotland offices in Aberdeen on 19 March. The secretariat has agreed to allow two or three members of the SFELC Feeds Sub-Committee to attend. A letter would be going out the following day. Names should be sent to Jacqui Angus.
Jacqui Angus informed the group that Alison Taylor had now left for the Policy Unit and would be replaced by Pauline Wilkinson on 2 March. Kate Connelly thanked Alison on behalf of the group for her work with Trading Standards.