Working in partnership, this scheme will see the development of farm shop- and farmers' market-friendly assured advice (Premier Advice) on how to comply with Trading Standards regulations.
"Assured" means the advice is reliable and backed by the law.
The concept behind a Primary Authority is to enable the businesses covered to shape the rules they follow to comply with legislation while also ensuring these procedures are recognised across the UK.
The constant increase in legislation facing food and farming businesses impacts on the businesses' performance. Legislation in areas of labelling, product description and food safety all mean that farmers looking to retail to the public have to incur greater costs.
Members who trade in more than one area, or who talk to other businesses, quickly find that Trading Standards rules and Environmental Health laws are interpreted differently by local officials.
To support farm retailers across the country, FARMA has set up a Primary Authority with Norfolk County Council. This scheme will see the development of "assured advice" in areas where FARMA members are facing significant challenges.
To get involved in a Primary Authority you have to be a member of FARMA and complete a simple registration form on the Primary Authority register.
Once you are registered, your Local Authority will be able to check if you are involved with the Primary Authority; if so, they will look to see if you are following any assured advice.
On issues that affect farm shops, farmers' markets and stallholders, FARMA will draw up Assured Guidelines in consultation with Norfolk County Council. If you are signed up to the scheme and adopt that guidance, then it must be respected by your local enforcement officers. Furthermore, if you have any problems in relation to the advice, you can refer them to FARMA who will take them up on your behalf.
The scheme has the full backing of the Better Regulation Delivery Office, part of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
As assured advice is created, it will be listed on this web page. The full guidance will then be provided in the members' section of the website.
FARMA has elected to work with Norfolk County Council due to the positive working relationship between this Authority and the farm retailers in the county of Norfolk and also the positive attitude they have towards working on the national programme with FARMA.
FARMA is in advanced talks to create a Primary Authority in the area of Environmental Health legislation.
There are different rules on labelling requirements for food products depending on how you sell food. Full guidance has been provided by Norfolk Trading Standards. This Guidance can be found in the members' section of the website.