‘It might seem like it’s ze­ro­tol­er­ance’

Accrington Observer - - LOOKING BACK -

ACRACKDOWN is be­ing launched to tackle the grow­ing num­ber of poor food hy­giene out­lets in Hyn­d­burn.

Coun­cil food safety teams will in­spect more than 130 premises over the next seven months with a zero, one or two Food Stan­dards Agency (FSA) rat­ing to ‘bring them up to stan­dard’.

The Ob­server re­ported ear­lier this year how the bor­ough was named as the ‘ coun­try’s cap­i­tal of poor food hy­giene’ with the high­est pro­por­tion of zero graded take­aways and sand­wich shops.

Last year we also re­vealed how Hyn­d­burn had seen a five-fold in­crease in 12 months in the num­ber of food out­lets re­ceiv­ing an FSA score of zero.

Un­der the new ‘zero tol­er­ance’ scheme premises with a grade lower than three will be in­spected be­fore March 2018 with tar­geted work­shops, men- tor­ing and coach­ing for ‘non-com­pli­ant premises’.

Deputy coun­cil leader Paul Cox, cab­i­net mem­ber for en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices, said the crack­down will help close ‘gaps in the sys­tem for peo­ple to ex­ploit’.

Speak­ing at a re­cent cab­i­net meeting, he said: “By us­ing tar­geted ed­u­ca­tion rather than en­force­ment and work­ing proac­tively with these low-scor­ing premises, this author­ity will look to pos­i­tively im­prove food safety scores in these few re­main­ing low-scor­ing out­lets.

“It might seem like it’s zero-tol­er­ance but the key thing is when you meet the food safety team they do have high stan­dards and do mark re­al­is­ti­cally.

“We feel that we are try­ing to bring every­body up to the bar rather than leav­ing gaps in the sys­tem for peo­ple to ex­ploit.”

Coun­cil leader Miles Parkin­son said the ac­tion taken by the coun­cil will help re­store public con­fi­dence in food rat­ings.

He told the meeting: “The public want us to make sure that where we feel things aren’t up to stan­dard then there is a zero rat­ing and to then make sure it’s then fully in­ves­ti­gated.

“We want all our es­tab­lish­ments to have a good rat­ing but, like ex­ams, you don’t want rat­ings that don’t mean any­thing.

“They must mean some­thing.

“Hyn­d­burn wants to make sure that when we de­liver a five-star food es­tab­lish­ment that peo­ple be­lieve it and that it isn’t just a tick-box ex­er­cise.”

Con­ser­va­tive group leader Tony Dob­son said: “I wel­come it and I think it is the right thing to do.”

Coun Paul Cox

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