Analysis of Responses
The standard responses counted in the statistics are broken down in the table below. One response was in non-standard format and did not directly answer all the questions within the consultation. Non-standard responses are included in the analysis where a view was clearly expressed. Due to rounding, percentage shares may not sum to 100%.
Q1 Do the standards provide clear and practical guidance?
59% of respondents were of the view that the standards did not provide clear and practical guidance. Comments included that the wording was ambiguous at times, required clarification and was not ideal for trade. It was suggested that there should be a clear indication of whether the standards were legal requirements or good practice, and that some of the proposals reduced the current legal requirements (both of which were also raised in response to question 2).
Specific comments were provided on the different sections within the standards (see individual responses for more detail).
Q2 Do you consider the standards meet the legislative requirements?
Views were mixed in response to this question, and slightly more than half of respondents (53%) considered that the standards met the legislative requirements.
A few respondents suggested that in a number of areas the standards exceeded the legal requirements. Some specific examples were provided, for example within section 3 - sinks; section 5 - cleaning and disinfection; and section 6 - personal hygiene. Some were of the view that it was difficult to differentiate between legal requirements and good practice, and that it should be made clear what is law and what is good practice. It was suggested that the standards could take the form of Approved Industry Guides For Good Hygiene Practice or Approved Codes of Practice.
Q3 Are there any requirements which are not included but should be?
While 53% of respondents were of the view that no other requirements should be included, 41% considered there were further requirements that could be included. A number of suggestions were made, including Health and Safety, Zero Waste, Gas Safety Certificates and Food Allergens. In respect of Health and Safety it was noted that, in terms of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, this is not covered by the requirements for certificate of compliance but is something that some local authorities will consider in terms of general obligations for public safety before issuing a licence.
Q4 Does the period of validity for the certificate reflect a risk based approach?
Views were mixed on the proposed period of validity for the certificate. 53% of respondents considered that it reflected a risk based approach. Of the 47% that did not agree, several highlighted that the inspection periods could cause an additional burden for both local authorities and food businesses as they would result in a number of mobile units being inspected more frequently.
Some respondents suggested that the period of validity should be consistent with the Risk Rating Annex 2 within the Food Law Code of Practice, and that it could be useful to link the renewal date of a certificate with the renewal of a street trader's licence, although it was recognised that these may not coincide.
Q5 Does the proposed certificate template (Annex 1) incorporate the necessary information to provide assurance to both environmental health officers and licensing boards?
A majority of respondents (65%) considered that the template incorporated the necessary information, with 35% of the opinion that it did not.
Some respondents welcomed the inclusion of a photograph. It was also suggested that it could be helpful to include the chassis number, where the unit is able to be towed by different vehicles.
It was noted that while the certificate referred to Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 this is not a material consideration for a certificate of compliance for a street trader licence under section 39 of Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (see also question 3). It was also clarified that Civic Government licensing is overseen by local authority committees rather than licensing boards.
Q6 Do you agree national standards should be established for both structural and operational aspects of mobile food units?
There was strong support (71%) for standards to be established for both the structural and the operational aspects of mobile traders food hygiene.
Respondents in favour noted that it is beneficial to have operational aspects included and it would provide for consistent enforcement. One respondent however noted that while there are good reasons for having both there are a number of problems associated with this particularly when traders are based but don't operate in the inspecting authority, or are not yet operating. On a similar note, another respondent highlighted that as each food authority will still check to ensure mobile food vendors are operating hygienically in their area the standards should be limited to structural matters.
Two respondents referred to existing legislation: Regulation EC 852/2004 which has a specific section on moveable and/or temporary premises, and the Licensing (Food Hygiene Requirements) (Scotland) Order 2011 which "appeared to amend the Civic Government (Scotland) Act so that all of the EU food hygiene requirements were covered by the section 39 certificate requirements". One respondent noted that the standards should also try and cover health and safety issues which are arguably of greater risk (also suggested in response to question 3).
Question 7 Do you have any other comments you wish to offer?
This section was used to address views not covered within questions 1-6, and also to provide further specific comments on the proposed standards.
One individual commented that the use of Bain Marie was preferable to taking equipment back to base for cleaning.
A few respondents asked about notification, and implementation, including lead in periods for existing operating vans. Several suggested that to improve consistency the standards should also apply to fixed premises i.e. where they may not be subject to street trader licensing requirements.
A range of comments were provided on specific standards, more detail of which can be found in individual responses.
Email: Caitlin Heaney, firstname.lastname@example.org