Comment by: Mrs Alison Williams
Focus area: Food manufacturing (small businesses)
Regulator concerned: Environmental Heath (Local Authority),Trading Standards (Local Authority)
We contacted both our local Trading Standards officer and our local Environmental Health officer from the start of our business and both have been incredibly helpful in helping us to comply with the multitude of legeslitive requirements.
I have some negetive feedback more to do with the legislation than our local authorities:
We sell honeybee products on line and whilst our officer has quite rightly had to bring us swiftly into line regarding health claims on our website it appears as though other authoritites have not been so vigilant and thus the playing field for us is not level. i.e. most of our competitors are still making the health claims that we are legally unable to make. Our officer has been very helpful in bringing the situation to the attention of various authoritites but it appears as though those in turn have been slow to act as the respective sites are still up and running, in some cases after several months. This has definitely had a detremental effect on our sales and growth. I think when a probem has been referred from one authority to another, priority should be given to resolving the problem in the referred area thus creating a fair market and ensuring that those of us who wish to comply swiftly and cooperate wholeheartedly within the law are backed up with a fair system which is effetive accros the whole of the UK and not just our own county.
We also sell jam and chutney on a small scale, the labelling complexities have seemed over complicated for someone of our size and certainly meant that in the early days when we were trying to launch our enterprise valuable time was spent wading through red tape rather than concentrating on the growth of our business.
Overall we are very pleased with our aurthorities; both are informative, helpful and not at all ‘heavy handed’. I feel if we are unsure or have made a mistake they are helpful and able to guide us in the areas needed.