UK – In a nod to tireless efforts in safeguarding public health, Alison Richardson, a key player in Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards, has been bestowed with the Megan Lee Hero Award at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s (CTSI) annual Hero Awards ceremony.

The accolade, named after the late Megan Lee, celebrates individuals who have surpassed expectations in consumer protection, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to fortifying the safety of the public.

The Hero Awards ceremony, held at the House of Commons and hosted by CTSI alongside Yvonne Fovargue MP, recognizes those who have “gone above and beyond to protect consumers and support honest businesses.”

Founded in 1881, the CTSI is one of the world’s longest-established organisations dedicated to the fields of Trading Standards and Consumer Protection.

The Megan Lee Hero Award, particularly poignant, is dedicated to Megan Lee, who tragically lost her life at 15 due to undisclosed allergens in a takeaway meal.

In an exclusive interview with New Food, Richardson expressed her gratitude for winning the Megan Lee Hero Award.

She conveyed her condolences to Megan Lee’s family, emphasizing the critical nature of her role in advising food businesses on compliance with evolving food laws.

“I was honoured to win this award in Megan’s name doing a job I love- advising food businesses on how to remain compliant with ever-changing food law. Allergen control may seem to be yet another burdensome rule placed on business, but it can, and does become lethal so very easily,” she said.

John Herriman, Chief Executive of the CTSI, emphasized the profound impact of Megan’s story.

“The Megan Lee Hero Award is one that is close to our hearts here at CTSI as we have supported Megan’s parents in their campaign work to raise awareness about the dangers of undisclosed allergens and to help avoid another family from losing a loved one. They are an inspiration to us all,” he stated.

Alison Richardson’s exemplary dedication to food safety earned her this esteemed award. Leading Operation Taste, Richardson spearheaded an investigation that scrutinized 2500 traditionally low-risk retail premises.

Her findings unearthed multiple issues, triggering product recalls and notifications to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Incidents Team.

“Alison is a true asset to our Trading Standards Service and is well respected by peers locally and regionally for her technical knowledge, commitment, and drive.

“Alison’s interventions have no doubt saved members of the public from serious food safety breaches that could have led to more tragic fatalities,” Stephanie Young, Trading Standards Lead at Staffordshire County Council, lauded Richardson.

Richardson underscored the lethal consequences of overlooking allergen control, urging businesses to seek guidance to prevent potential tragedies.

“If there are businesses out there who do not understand the rules, then please ask. The last thing we want is another waste of such a young life,” she said.

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