Wales Heads of Trading Standards

Improving Trading Standards in Wales

Penaethiaid Safonau Masnach Cymru Yn Gwella Safonau Masnach Yng Nghymru

Food safety regulations

The safety and composition of all food is controlled by a wide range of Regulations. Compositional standards ensure that consumers get food of the nature and quality that they expect, and that traders are competing with each other on a level playing field.

Trading standards services carry out food safety inspections at all food manufacturers and retailers. Inspections are usually unannounced and many samples of food are taken and submitted to the Public Analyst who will test the product for safety and check its composition. 

Frequently asked questions

How much detail do I need to provide about dishes on the menu in my restaurant?

There are no strict rules on this but you should try and provide as much information as possible so that the consumer can make an informed choice.

The descriptions must not be misleading. For example, something described as a 'homemade steak and kidney pie' should not be bought in, ingredients described as local produce should be from the local area and 'reformed' scampi or meat should be described as such.

I make various foods such as jam, meat pies and chocolates to sell in my delicatessen, are there minimum compositional standards for these foods?

Yes, detailed guidance leaflets can be downloaded from the Trading Standards Institute website using the links on the Food Safety Regulations page.

Is there a risk of catching avian influenza from eating eggs and poultry?

We appreciate that there may be concerns about the consumption of poultry meat and eggs. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advice, that avian influenza does not pose a food safety risk for people in the UK, remains unchanged.

The FSA advises consumers to follow good hygiene practices and ensure food is cooked properly. Further infomation is available on the Food Standards Agency website

What are the rules about the way I describe the origin of meat in my butcher's shop?

With the exception of beef, it is not compulsory to state the origin of any meat. However, if you do give an origin it must be accurate. In the case of beef, you have to comply with the beef labelling scheme. Detailed guidance on the scheme can be found on the Trading Standards Institute website using the link on the Food Safety Regulations page.

What is the difference between use by, best before and sell by dates?

Use by dates are applied to foods that are perishable and may cause food poisoning if consumed after that date. It is a criminal offence to sell, or display in your shop, food past its use by date. Best Before dates are applied to foods that will not cause food poisoning if consumed after the date. Food can be sold past its best before date if it is still of satisfactory quality. It is an offence to sell eggs beyond their sell by date. In all other cases, sell by dates are used as a stock control measure and have no legal standing.  

Web links

Food Standards Agency
Food Commission 
Trading Standards Business Companion - Food & Drink -  Guidance Leaflets & Resources
If you have any queries about this subject contact your local authority Trading Standards Service