Independent inspectors who looked into the work of Argyll and Bute Council’s food standards team have been positive about what they found.
The Food Standards Agency (Scotland) visited the council for three days last month to carry out a rigorous audit on the environmental health service’s levels of compliance with the relevant food safety legislation.
The resulting report confirms that the team is performing well, with competent and professional staff championing food safety issues across Argyll and Bute.
It also identified several areas requiring further attention, which the council has already drawn up an action plan to address.
The auditors targeted Argyll and Bute, Highland and Aberdeenshire councils for inspections, as these are the three main local authorities regulating food manufacturing and processing in Scotland. Argyll and Bute was selected because it regulates:
- One of Europe’s main shellfish sectors
- The main scallop sector in Scotland
- One of the main salmon smoker sectors in Scotland
The inspectors looked at the council’s food safety enforcement performance, joined enforcement staff on visits to selected premises and assessed the appropriateness of systems, processes and enforcement levels undertaken by the team.
Councillor Daniel Kelly, chair of the planning, protective services and licensing committee, said he was very pleased with the overall report.
“We take our responsibilities in the area of food safety extremely seriously, and it is very satisfying that the inspectors have had so many positive things to say about how we’re doing,” he added.
“The audit recognises the exemplary work being undertaken by Argyll and Bute Council’s environmental health service to protect food safety and - more widely - the general public, and I am delighted that it identified three major areas of best practice, including our very comprehensive inspection procedures.
“The report also highlights several areas in which we could improve our work, and an action plan is already being implemented to address these.
“Overall, it is reassuring that the inspectors concluded that our team is committed to keeping food safety at the top of the agenda for the protection of Argyll and Bute’s residents and visitors.”
The full report will be available for viewing on the Food Standards Agency’s website at www.food.gov.uk once it is formally published in November 2011.