Inspector laments impact of tough fruit supplier standards

Supermarkets are imposing excessively onerous standards on suppliers on issues such as food hygiene, Health & Safety Executive (HSE) principal inspector Mike Walters told the British Independent Fruit Growers' Association technical day.

Walters: principal inspector - image: HW
Walters: principal inspector - image: HW

"There needs to be baseline compliance with health and safety legislation, but some feel the big players over-egg it and ask for far more than the regulations require," he said. "That helps nobody. Over-compliance takes away money that you need in your profit margins. But it's hard to fight back because if you say: 'I'm not doing that,' they will say: 'You haven't got a contract.' The HSE won't get involved."

But he warned growers that they are now liable for the costs of HSE inspections when these uncover breaches of legislation. "Compliant businesses pay nothing but the cost for others is £124 per hour. The intention is those who take the risk should pay rather than the taxpayer. Currently the HSE recoups £2m every two months across all sectors and £50,000 to £60,000 from farms."

Farms are a priority for inspection due to the sector's poor safety record, added Walters. "The industry employs 1.5 per cent of the working population yet equates to 15 to 20 per cent of fatal accidents each year."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

As the British apple season begins, English Apples & Pears (EAP) is warning that growers will feel the effects of both a late frost in spring and also constrained labour supply.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Tractors for growers

Tractors for growers

The latest specialist tractors are providing wider choice for growers working in narrow rows, Sally Drury reports.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon