Soft drinks industry launches new primary authority partnership

The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), which represents soft drinks manufacturers including A G Barr, Coca-Cola and Refresco Gerber, has launched a UK-wide trading standards scheme with Surrey County Council.

They have joined together to give BSDA members opting into the scheme assurance that policies and procedures in place in their premises cannot be changed from one local authority to the next.

The Primary Authority Scheme was developed to promote consistency and to provide assurance to those businesses operating across a number of areas.

By signing up, BSDA members will be legally protected in the following areas when advice has been issued by Surrey Trading Standards:

  • Food standards
  • Fair trading
  • Metrology
  • Product safety.

Gavin Partington, BSDA director general, says, “One of the challenges facing food and drinks companies is the volume and complexity of the many regulations in modern day business, particularly when they are subject to different interpretations by various enforcement agencies. I am pleased we are able to provide BSDA members with assured advice to protect them in the marketplace.”

Helyn Clack, cabinet member for community services, adds, “Surrey County Council is committed to supporting businesses and ensuring that consumers can have confidence in the quality of their drinks. We’re delighted to be working closely with the BSDA to achieve those aims together.”

Paul Isherwood, head of technical and quality at SHS Drinks, comments, “Currently, there is no cohesive, legal protection for soft drinks companies in relation to the labelling of their products, so we welcome the introduction of the Assured Advice scheme and will certainly be signing up.”

The first assured guidance focuses on labelling.  BSDA is currently working on other areas including foreign language labelling and nutrition labelling, which will be available to members next year.

This scheme is free for BSDA members but companies do need to opt-in via Dr Fiona Palmer ( at the BSDA to receive the benefits of Assured Advice.

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