Trading Standards - Primary Authority Partnership

What is a Primary Authority?

The team at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards (C&PTS), who are now working with the Guild in a nationally recognised Primary Authority Partnership, are delighted that all Guild members who sign up to join our scheme will benefit from the legally assured advice and guidance provided by C&PTS.

The scheme is managed by the national government Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). – for details of the scheme please see
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-regulation-primary-authority
There are some slight complications caused by Scottish and Welsh devolution but these are actively being addressed.

Benefits of Primary Authority

The Guild, as a trade association, now able to receive advice and guidance from CPT&S to provide members who agree to join the partnership with something they can legally rely upon. In practical terms the scheme helps to remove regulatory burdens and can reduce compliance costs/uncertainty. It provides a single source of advice on legal compliance that trading standards and environmental health officers across England will recognise. It will be particularly helpful in the “grey” areas of legislation and practical interpretation and will enable us to provide members with maximum support. Trading Standards and Environmental Health food experts are now available to help ensure regulatory compliance and provide general guidance on matters of interest to all members.

Sign up

To fully benefit from the legally assured advice and the protection such advice offers when followed, Guild members will need to agree to be registered for this service and both the Guild and our partners in C&PTS would encourage all members to become part of the new scheme and sign up today.

Trading Standards for Jam Makers

Let us introduce you to the work of trading standards and how we can help you in your business. The system of rules covers all sorts of trading areas that might affect you. Food information to consumers marketing claims and descriptions, pricing, weights & measures, distance selling.  Knowing the rules and following them helps protect the business from criticism and bad publicity, is good for consumers who then are confident in what they are buying and creates fairness across the marketplace so that everyone competes on the same basis.

Trading Standards Regulations

The rules can be a bit overwhelming when you first see them with lots of different requirements and plenty of technical detail. This is where our partnership with the Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers comes in. You can come to the Guild with your questions and we will do our best to answer them. There have been compositional standards (recipe laws) in the UK for many many years, and these have contributed to the current rules that have been developed by and apply across all EU member states. The rules for England are found in the Jam and Similar Products (England) Regulations 2003, and there are equivalents
for Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland, matched more or less across the European Union.

To make the rules work we need to be clear on what words mean, so fruit has an extended meaning beyond the botanical term just because jams and preserves have long since been made with ginger, rhubarb, carrots, sweet potatoes. The required minimum fruit content declaration is an indication of quality, but only if the fruit is of satisfactory quality, so the definition also adds some quality because it requires the fruit to be “fresh sound free from deterioration, containing all of its essential constituents and sufficiently ripe for use, after cleaning, removal of blemishes, topping and tailing”.

Well isn’t that what you would expect?

You might say it goes without saying, but of course it has to be said because historically that has not always been the case. The declared total sugar content would appear to be a bit of a hurdle for new businesses because it includes fruit sugars as well as the added ‘table sugar’. But there is good reason. The preserving effect is achieved by the high sugar level and the reduction in water, since it is the water that allows moulds to grow. Sugar refractometers are now readily available and in the scheme of things not so expensive and form as much part of the set up investment as the pans and sieves and funnels, etc. A good reliable preserve thermometer is important too. Essentially, when you boil jam you are raising the temperature to drive off the water and provide the conditions where the acid and pectin can work together to set the jam, and remove the water that moulds use to grow. And you only get to the magic setting point 103-106C when there is 60% sugar, so the compositional requirements match the quality requirements.

Advice

We know the law, and we have a Public Analyst who can test products and advise on food technology aspects, working with the expertise already in the Guild. Of course as soon as rules are made there are potential areas for debate and although the regulations try their best to cover those aspects there are times when you might need some advice on how it applies to your business.

Getting the labelling and weight control right are part of making your business a success that underpins the high quality premium you doubtless will place on your products.Part of being in business is also about product development and innovation. Some ideas will work some are not so successful. We can help guide you through the rules and look at what marketing is right for you.

So, your first task is to join The Guild at the Gold Membership option and then you can enjoy the benefits that liaising through one regulatory authority can bring.