Posted: 01/04/2014

Councils and Guild bid for charcuterie ‘code of practice‘ funding

Allan HampshireCornwall Council, Horsham District Council and the Guild of Fine Food have made a joint bid for grant aid to create a code of practice for charcuterie production and retailing.

The code would cover key food safety issues liable to cause dispute with EHOs and other regulatory officers and – depending on the level of grant funding – could be backed by scientific data from a leading food research institute.

One problem faced by small producers is that there is currently no nationally accepted data on Continental-style charcuterie production to help resolve disagreements with EHOs.

It is both “costly and burdensome” for individual producers to buy microbiological and shelf life date to cover all their products, according to Horsham’s principal EHO, Paul Hobbs.

The bid for funding from the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO), part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, also covers the development of a one-day training course for EHOs.

Cornwall Council’s head of public health & protection Allan Hampshire (pictured), said:  “We carried out research earlier this year across England and Wales which suggested nearly half of local authority food safety liaison groups would welcome training to cover charcuterie, as new producers spring up around the UK.

He added: “The proposed code of practice would be drawn up over the coming year by food safety and trading standards specialists here at Cornwall Council with colleagues from Horsham District Council, working with industry experts identified by the Guild.”

Once agreed, it could also lead to the development of a Primary Authority partnership between the Guild and Cornwall Council.

This would establish a set of accepted rules on key charcuterie production and retailing issues that would have legal weight throughout England and Wales, provided producers and shops signed up to the scheme via the Guild.

It is hoped a decision on funding for the year-long project will be received from the BRDO by early summer.

In 2013, Cornwall Council went into a similar Primary Authority partnership with the Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association (SCA), which already has an established code of practice, mainly covering good hygiene practices in small dairy operations.

Artisan cheese-maker Jamie Montgomery of the SCA joined Erica Sheward of the BRDO to discuss the benefits of Primary Authority with charcuterie producers at a meeting at the Guild’s Harrogate Speciality Food Show last June.

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