A recent Trading Standards inspection of pubs, restaurants and cafes in Brighton & Hove have shown most to be accurate with their claims to be serving locally sourced food. Of 35 randomly selected premises across the city, only one could not substantiate its claims.
Brighton & Hove’s investigation was carried out in August 2010 as part of a national Trading Standards survey co-ordinated by the Local Government Regulation, the regulatory arm of the Local Government Association.
Officers visited businesses and checked paperwork to make sure that claims made about local produce were accurate. The evidence seems to contradict a growing concern among customers. Trading Standards have noticed an increase in the number of complaints from the public about whether claims about local food served were accurate.
A survey carried out earlier this year by Trading Standards officers in Lancashire found that 32 of 41 randomly selected premises across the county made misleading claims about the food they served.
Council leader Mary Mears who also chairs the sustainability cabinet, said, “It’s good to see our local food outlets coming out well in the random survey. Residents are becoming more interested in where their food comes from. The impact of food miles on the environment and a desire to support local businesses are both increasingly important factors for consumers when choosing what and where to eat.”
There is no absolute definition of what constitutes “local” in relation to food products, so the criteria used by Brighton & Hove was that food should be sourced either within a 50 mile radius of Brighton & Hove or Sussex or the South Downs.
The findings of the national survey have been reported back to the Local Government Regulation, which will publish a report next year. As part of this work, it is expected to announce a definition of what constitutes “local”.
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