Require food businesses to be legally registered to advertise

Require food businesses to be legally registered to advertise

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Kerry Whyte started this petition to Environmental Health and

There are too many unsafe, unhygienic new producers of treats and catering on public media domains. 

Producers of food for sale are responsible for ensuring that strict hygiene practices are adhered to, in order to safely provide edible products to customers and other businesses, without resulting in illness or risk to health.

Food preparation intended for purchase by the public (especially in current CoViD-19 climates) has many stages and aspects where production must meet certain hygiene levels, set out by official legislation and local council criteria.
Registered food businesses adhere to these stages and their food handlers are safely able to recognise risk, control environments, adapt practices to various conditions and the food types being handled, and ensure there are regular temperature checks and the recording of data in place to maintain safe production and alert the producer to any possible issues. 

By law, a person wanting to handle and prepare, and sell food to a member of the public must be legally registered as a Food Business Operator (FBO) with their local councils Environmental Health Officer (EHO). Together, they are responsible for the safe health and well being of the public when consuming anything not prepared by themselves.

Regular inspections of premises are routinely made by local council EHOs to check the businesses are safely conducting their practices within hygiene guidelines and operating safely, without any corner cutting. These are trustworthy businesses that do a lot of additional work at additional cost, in order to be able to safeguard their customers and adhere to all legislation. 

All registered food businesses are also responsible for paying relevant taxes, and ensuring they hold Public Liability Insurance.

In recent months, an increasingly high number of individuals have decided to make a few food items and sell them to the public for profit, without registering as a food business. Cakes, cupcakes, brownies, novelty hot chocolate, seasonal baking, sweets loose from wrappers, afternoon teas, snacks, breads, take away meals, buffets and banquets - all should be regulated as there is a risk to health.  

When unregistered, premises have not been inspected to ensure they meet and maintain a minimum safe standard of hygienic practices, cleaning regimes, date rotation, and products used (some may be injurious to health).  

The person producing may be unaware of the risk of foreign contamination, plus direct and cross contamination (both chemical and biological), and how to safely store and handle ingredients and products.
There may be pets and other people in the household sharing these spaces and ingredients/ products unsafely.
Food may not be being stored at correct temperatures, cooked and cooled at correct temperatures and delivered within safe timescales. 
Foods are not always correctly labelled with accurate allergen info.

The cost of insurance and tax, along with investing in products, and additional efforts in cleaning, recording and taking time to ensure all practices are totally hygienic add to the workload of registered food business operators. These extra efforts are not an issue for those registered as it allows the business to continue legally and safeguarding their customers. 

However, new unregistered advertisers often price themselves much lower than registered businesses. They do not incur these extra costs as often are not using correct practices. Official businesses are as a result losing business, and made to appear more expensive, even overpriced and less appealing. 
The ‘earning a few quid extra making brownies on the side’ is truly impacting on professional business that rely on that income

It is hard to tell when looking at adverts on social media, if a company is a safe provider or a unregistered, unchecked, off the radar individual. 

I feel it needs to be a legal requirement for a person or business advertising edible items, on social media, or otherwise, to state their officially registered company name (and even  food standard agency rating or link) so potential customers will know they are a reputable company, and can check they are registered and safe via ‘Scores on the Doors’ - (the Food Standards Agency public access reference to legitimate food companies).  

This will also mean media platforms can confidently filter out or remove all illegally operating food providers, keeping members of the public safe from illness, and supporting above-board food businesses. It should be also a legal requirement for any media company or platform allowing sales, to ask for this info prior to allow an advert to be placed. 




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