The council has a statutory obligation to prepare and approve an annual Food Service Plan.
Section 1 of the Food Law Code of Practice (Scotland) requires the statutory obligations covered to be brought to the attention of local authority officials and/or elected member bodies responsible for agreeing budgets or other service arrangements relevant to the delivery of official controls.
The obligations that apply to the delivery of official controls by local authorities include ensuring:
- The effectiveness and appropriateness of official controls.
- That controls are applied at an appropriate risk-based frequency.
- That they have a sufficient number of suitably qualified and experienced competent staff and adequate facilities and equipment to carry out their duties properly.
- That staff are free from conflicts of interest.
- That they have access to an adequate laboratory capacity and capability for testing.
As a result, the Food Service Plan outlines how the council's Environmental Health Service manages public health protection and outlines how food safety and animal feeding stuffs will be monitored and controlled. The plan also covers other public health functions undertaken by the commercial team within the service which has responsibility for food safety. Animal feeding stuffs and hygiene at primary production are the responsibility of trading standards. During the meeting officers provided further expansion on details outlined within the plan and how these fit in with the priorities of the Environmental Health Service and the work undertaken by officers to ensure that the council fulfils its statutory obligations as a local authority when it comes to food safety.
Leader of West Lothian Council, Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "Many of us won't acknowledge the level of work that is required to ensure the safety of the food and drink we consume. The safety of this fundamental human need relies largely, on the crucial monitoring work that is mainly undertaken by environmental health professionals working within local authorities. The Food Service Plan delivered by officers, outlines how such controls are delivered in West Lothian. "The Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent restrictions will make an impact on the way that the service will have to work. Nevertheless, we should all take great confidence in the professionalism and capability of our Environmental Health Service in helping to safeguard our health."