News item

Mother and son track the journey from ‘farm to fork’

A mother and her four-year-old son star in a new film tracking the way trading standards professionals act to safeguard the food on our plates - throughout its journey from farm to fork.

'Healthy and Safe - a journey to your plate' is the title of the DVD, shown for the first time at the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) annual conference and exhibition at Bournemouth International Centre on 25 and 26 June.

The Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CEnTSA) commissioned the film, starring Staffordshire mum Corinne Caddy and her son, Conrad, to demonstrate how local authority inspectors play a leading role in animal welfare and protecting public health all the way to the dinner plate.

The DVD, produced by Corinne's public relations company Conkerzoo, is now being offered to trading standards authorities throughout the country to highlight this aspect of their work and to educate businesses and the public.

Corinne and Conrad learned how trading standards inspectors guard against headline diseases, such as bird flu and 'mad cow disease'. They star alongside Staffordshire senior animal health officer Steph Young and Paul Coldicutt, team leader at Warwickshire trading standards.

Other characters - including butchers, farmers and livestock keepers - are played by real people from across the CEnTSA region, which includes Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Herefordshire, Sandwell, Shropshire, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford & Wrekin, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire.

Corinne, aged 33, from Great Haywood, near Stafford, said: 'Providing healthy food for my family, from animals that are well cared for, is a subject I'm passionate about.

'I didn't realise, until I worked with CEnTSA to produce this DVD, how much trading standards professionals do to protect animals and our food - all the way from the farm to the plate.

'That's why our meat is the safest in the world. They use some very high-tech methods - even DNA testing - to make sure that the animals from which our meat comes are of the quality and age that livestock keepers and meat suppliers claim.'

Tony Shore, team leader for animal health at Staffordshire County Council, said: 'Media interest in animal welfare, highlighted by celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Gordon Ramsey, have demonstrated the importance of animal health and welfare in the food chain.

'Local authority animal health officers provide the public and the livestock industry with reassurances about the safety of the food we eat, the welfare conditions of livestock and effective animal diseases control measures.

'The Central England Animal Health and Welfare Group consists of some of the most experienced and committed animal health and welfare specialists, drawn from 14 local authorities.

'Animal and public health has been highlighted as a national enforcement priority for trading standards because of the potentially huge impact that animal disease outbreaks have on local and national economies.'

Recent action taken by trading standards authorities to safeguard animal welfare and food safety includes:

  • Oxfordshire County Council secured its first successful prosecution under new powers introduced as part of the Animal Welfare Act. A farmer from Henley-on-Thames was fined £4,500 for eight offences of failing to dispose of animal by-products, causing unnecessary suffering to a sheep and his herd of pigs and failing to provide suitable accommodation for pigs. A further 12 offences were taken into consideration by Didcot magistrates.
  • A man was fined £300, with £300 costs under the Animal Welfare Act, for causing the transportation of a cow from Derbyshire to Sawley in Lancashire when the animal was unfit for the journey through lameness.
  • At Camborne Magistrates Court, a man from St Buryan, near Penzance, Cornwall, was given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1,631 costs for offences, including causing unnecessary suffering to cattle.
  • At Bodmin Magistrates Court a man was given a 10-week curfew order, disqualified from owning or keeping pigs for five years and ordered to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs, for five animal welfare offences.

Jeremy Adams, TSI's spokesman on animal health and welfare, said: 'Prosecutions such as these are really a last resort because we work with businesses and farmers to advise and inform them on issues such as how they store produce, chemicals or machinery to avoid cross contamination with livestock.

'The farm-to-fork approach of the recent legislation that we now enforce is aimed at making sure that everyone involved in the journey from the fields to our dinner plates plays their part in ensuring the hygiene and quality of food - with the underlying principle that healthier animals produce better food.'

Further information: Trading Standards Institute Press Office, telephone 0845 608 9430.

Notes to Editors

The national Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2008, organised by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) - a 'must' for consumer journalists!

The TSI-hosted annual Conference and Exhibition is the leading consumer affairs and trading standards event in Europe.

Conference 2008 is being held at Bournemouth International Centre from Tuesday 24 to Thursday 26 June. The conference press office will be open from 8am on Monday 23 June (the day before the event starts) until 2pm on Thursday 26 June.

Journalists and photographers are welcome to attend but should contact the press office on 0845 608 9430 to arrange passes.

The conference is hosted by TSI chairman Bryan Lewin.

Almost 2,000 people are attending the conference, including representatives from local and central government and those interested in fair trading, representatives of business and commerce, together with consumer organisations. This makes it an ideal place for consumer affairs journalists to mingle and make contacts!

Trading Standards Institute

The Trading Standards Institute has represented the interests of Trading Standards professionals for 120 years. We have a long and proud history of ensuring that the views of our members are well represented at the highest level of government, both nationally and internationally.

Our aim is to promote excellence and enhance the professionalism of our members in support of empowering and informing consumers, encouraging and working with honest businesses, targeting rogue traders and rogue trading practices and contributing to the health, welfare and wellbeing of citizens and communities.

TSI members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities in response to 2 million consumer and business complaints and enquiries each year. They also support the delivery of new initiatives such as Consumer Direct, providing first point of contact practical consumer advice.

They also work in the business, consumer and central government sectors in promoting and influencing the safety, prosperity and enhancement of individuals and markets with a dependency on effective and professional trading standards contributions and interventions.