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Health and safety law stops Eden hospice selling Carlisle allotment produce

Vegetable growers and jam makers have been left heartbroken after a charity said it could no longer sell their produce because of health and safety law.

Botcherby Paddock photo
Allotment holders, from left, Joe Grieves, Frank Dolan, Hilda Davidson and Alan Carr

For years, allotment holders at Botcherby Paddock, Carlisle, have donated vegetables and preserves to Eden Valley Hospice to sell at its city centre shops.

But hospice bosses told them this week they would not take any more because it contravened health and safety laws.

The legislation says products like jam must be sold with a list of ingredients and information about where it was made.

And fresh produce like fruit and veg must be sold from chilled cabinets, which Eden Valley Hospice shops do not have.

The charity is due to meet allotment holders today to explain the decision.

Frank Dolan, spokesman for the allotment holders, said the group were “heartbroken”.

“This has upset a lot of people,” he said. “There is a lady here in her 90s who has made jam for the hospice for years and she is devastated.

“People have been donating their produce to the shops for a long time without any problems. We have never had any complaints.

“But we were told this week the hospice would no longer accept it. This has put a lot of people’s backs up.

“These health and safety rules are out of control. You can’t do anything nowadays, it’s barmy.

“What’s the difference between this and taking produce to a harvest festival or a gala day? Are those going to come under threat now?

“We don’t blame the hospice; they do a wonderful job and they are only following orders.

“But it will be the poor folk who are patients there that lose out because of this.”

Colin Powell, head of fundraising for the Eden Valley Hospice, said: “I’m afraid our hands are tied over this.

“We are not trying to be awkward here, there has simply been a change to the regulations.

“We can’t sell things like homemade jam if they don’t have a list of ingredients and details about how they are made to comply with health and safety regulations.” he added.

“And if you are selling fresh produce, like tomatoes for instance, they must be in refrigerated cabinets.

“We don’t have those facilities; we are not a food retailer.

“I would like to thank the people who have donated this produce over many years.

“We would be more than delighted to accept what they can offer at the hospice for use in the kitchen for the benefit of the patients.

“Also, volunteers are free to buy the produce themselves and donate the takings to the hospice.”

The Food Standards Agency’s Food Labelling Regulations insist that packaged products sold regularly to the public must have stated on them: the name of the food; a list of ingredients in descending weight order; percentages to show what proportion of the food each
ingredient make up; a best before or use by date; storage instructions; name and address of the manufacturer, packer or seller; ‘how-to-use’ instructions and place of origin.

The FSA said: “The rules don’t apply to food that isn’t prepared as part of a business. So this means that most food being sold for charity won’t need to be labelled, including food sold at one-off events such as church fetes and school fairs. But if you regularly sell packaged food for charity, for example, jars of jam or boxed cakes, you might have to follow the regulations.”

Have your say

Firstly editors... please do not put this into a health & safety catagory or you are in danger of misinterpretation of what health & safety actually is!
Second... As the FSA have suggested this is being sold for charity reasons and not for business gain or profit so can be argued that such labels are not required in this circumstance... perhaps the hospice can get a better responce from them and also a call to their insurers to help clarify?

Posted by AC on 28 September 2010 at 16:14

As I work overseas a great deal (currently in Afghanstan, and in the last eighteen months have worked in Laos, South Sudan and Cambodia) I always enjoying reading the 'local rag' to keep in touch a bit. Whether the news is good or bad it's a good read (easpecialy when CUFC have won).
Two stories that have justannoyed the hell out me have been the one refering to allotment owners not being able to donate their veg and jam etc to a hospice and the other being the need for e remote controlled robot to cut the grass at the Castle...for the love of all things sacred, get a bloody all the years thatthe grass was cut by a bloke with a strimmer, or whatever how many have been injured or killed? And veg and jam which don't contain artifical additives and all the toxins of the day being sold...a healthy and tasty alternative to artificially coloured and produced 'bland' muck on sale in most of the shops, how can it be right to stop it being sold...if its not good enough or creates a hazard to those who may buy it...then surely it presents the same hazard to those that grew it/made it and will no doubt enjoy eating the damn wonder the UK is becoming a laughing stock, buraeucrats in ivory towers...or robotic lawnmowers in castle moats....ridiculas, instead of ditching nursing jobs, get rid of these 'jobs worth' bureaucrats and get over it!

Posted by Babes Feddon on 18 September 2010 at 09:50

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