Health Risk' Warning Over fall in Food Safety Checks - Dream Health

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Thursday 12 May 2016

Health Risk' Warning Over fall in Food Safety Checks


Food Hygiene Dropped by 15% in UK

Research shows that since2003, food hygiene has dropped by 15% in the UK, with experts cautioning of risks to public health. The study found that the amount of inspections that had been handled by local authorities had dropped from 307,526 in 2003-04 to 260,765 in 2014-15. The Food Standards Agency overseers have said that the situation was of `growing concern. The Local Government Association stated that councils tend to `work extremely hard on food safety in spite of budgetary pressures.

Ministers have stated that public safety was `paramount` and the majority of local authorities tend to continue to balance their budgets and increase or maintain public satisfaction with service. Figures acquired by Prof Steve Tombs for the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, utilising freedom of information requests to Food Standards Agency – FSA indicated around 47,000 less inspections carried out in 2014 than in 2003. The number of establishments impeached had also fallen by 35% from 552 to 361 over the same time. Prof Tombs, s professor of criminology at the Open University stated that policymakers need to address the radical reduction in local authority inspections and enforcement, urgently.

  • Food premises have been rated from `0’ which means that urgent upgrading is essential to `5’, which means hygiene standards are very good 
  • The scores are based on inspections by officers from the local authority 
  • They see how the food is prepared and cooked and also reheating, cooling together with storage 
  • They also check on the condition of the building and what the management have been doing to ensure that the food is safe 
  • Intervals between inspections are based on risk assessment 
  • Category A premises need to be inspected at least every six months 
  • Category E businesses like off-licences, should be assessed only every three years

Food Law Code of Practice

BBC’s 5 live Investigates programme has seen minutes of an FSA board meeting from January this year wherein anxieties were raised on the increasing numbers of complaints as well as falling staffing levels. The agency had warned that the overall position is one of growing concern. At a local level, there have been good numbers of authorities that have been struggling to undertake interventions of food business at the need frequencies. The minutes had also stated that several local authorities ` are not capable of delivering a food service as set out in statutory Food Law Code of Practice.

 The minutes also showed that they are also acutely aware that local authority resources, particularly in England will face further significant reductions over the next few years. Food Standards Scotland – FSS, since 1 April 2015 had the responsibility for food safety and food standards in Scotland. Investigators had found poor hygiene practice at a takeaway that cannot be named for legal reasons, which permitted possibly deadly salmonella bacterial to pass from eggs to other food.

The last complete inspection of the premises had been 20 months before the outbreak and has received a Food Hygiene Rating of two, meaning that improvement is necessary. An environment health officer had visited in June 2013, to provide support and guidance and the outbreak took place a year later.

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