Health fear over lack of hygiene inspection staff
FOOD businesses which could pose a health risk may not be inspected for a “considerable period of time” due to a lack of resources.
Gwynedd council has admitted its food law enforcement services are so stretched that some inspections cannot be carried out quickly enough, meaning illegal practices could be taking place in the county.
It comes after a damning Food Standards Agency (FSA) audit in 2016 found 34 recommendations for the council to make improvements to its service.
In a report ahead of the community scrutinies committee, the council said: “With the resource available it is not possible to undertake a percentage of interventions within the time specified, and also some interventions may not comply in full with the code requirements.
“This will result in some businesses not receiving an inspection for a considerable period of time. Potentially, such businesses may be operating illegally and posing a risk to the health of customers.”
The FSA report identified failings in areas ● including the number of officers available to carry out inspection work, enforcement policy, logging and keeping records and procedures.
Since the audit, the council said it has met 21 of the recommendations, with work to meet the remaining 13 ongoing.
They said that without further funding, five of the recommendations could not be met, including ensuring there are an appropriate number of officers to deliver food hygiene and standards controls and ensuring inspections are carried out at the “minimum frequency” set out.
The council added: “Gwynedd council is not meeting its obligations in full under the framework agreement.
“Where the Welsh Government deems such failures to be serious it has the power to intervene in the management of the service.
“It is expected that we will have met the majority of the work listed in the i m p rov e - ment plan by December 1.”
The FSA are due to revisit the council at a future date to assess compliance with the i m p rov e - ment plan.
Inspections are not being carried out