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Review of Registration of Food Businesses in Orkney

The Environmental Health team in Orkney Islands Council is issuing support and guidance to businesses in the islands who offer, sell or provide food. This covers a wide range of providers including childminders and homebakers who  have those excellent little roadside boxes of sweets and fancies.

This is part of a Review of the Registration of Food Businesses as required by the recent Audit conducted by Food Standards Scotland which identified areas of weakness in the council’s operation (published on 16th of January 2023).

Any business handling and selling food must register with the OIC Environmental Health team at least 28 days before it opens. Click on this link for more information: Registering a Food Business

Local Authorities across Scotland are audited by Food Standards Scotland. The final report of Orkney Islands Council’s audit has been published.

The audit examined Orkney Islands Council’s arrangements for official controls in relation to Retained Regulation (EU) 2017/625, the Interventions Food Law Code of Practice (Scotland) 2019 and the Food Law Code of Practice (Scotland) 2019 on the verification of compliance with feed and food law.

The Summary of what the audit inspectors found is as follows:

The Authority has a current 2022/2023 Service Plan which was approved by the Head of Planning and Community Protection and the Corporate Director for Neighbourhood Services and Infrastructure.

The current allocation of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff to the Food Service is 1.8. A new member of staff is starting this month which will increase the FTE to 2.8. A resource calculation which had been completed by the Authority but only provided after the audit estimates a total of 4.4 FTE is required to carry out all food law official controls.

The current Intervention Programme was not created in line with the Local Authority (LA) Recovery Project and did not conform with the requirements of the Intervention Code 2019.

Due to the turnover and lack of staff at the LA, no interventions were programmed in line with the restart date outlined in the recovery project on the 1st September

A new Lead Food Officer started in September 2021, with no handover provided on the recovery project process.

Several food law risk rated establishments were found to be incorrectly grouped and banded.

Group 0 establishments were found on the Authority’s database, however, there is no such Group outlined in the Interventions Code 2019.

The Authority has been unable to inspect all approved establishments within 12 months as prioritised in the LA Recovery project process guidance meaning only 7/38 approved establishments have been inspected in the last 12 months.

6/10 food business establishments were reviewed during the audit as not all of the 10 requested had received a recent programmed food law intervention. One establishment file reviewed did not have an accompanying inspection form in the premises file.

Inspection letters reviewed were well and clearly documented detailing contraventions, including timescales for corrective actions and citing the legislation breached.

Verification checks were carried out professionally and in accordance with the Interventions Code 2019 and Food Law Code of Practice (Scotland) 2019.

The Audit includes an Action Plan for OIC, some of which is already underway.

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