Health fear over lack of hy­giene in­spec­tion staff

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

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

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