Nearly two thirds of our food outlets get warning from town hall officials
NEARLY two thirds of all food establishments in Rochdale have received written warnings from the council in a year.
Exclusive analysis of Food Standards Agency (FSA) data reveals 993 establishments were sent warning letters by town hall officials for potentially breaching strict standards.
The warnings can cover a variety of legislation breaches - from poor hygiene to paperwork and document errors.
As well as restaurants, shops, stores, takeaways and caterers, the data also covers producers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of food.
There are 1,610 registered food establishments in Rochdale, and 62 per cent - 993 businesses - were sent written warnings in 2016/17. Council bosses said the rate of letters ‘was not a negative’ as it showed how they regularly give advice to help businesses. The borough has ‘a thriving food economy’, they added.
Along with simple cautions, formal action can include the voluntary closure of a business, the seizure of food or in the most severe cases of food hygiene or other heath and safety breaches, the suspension or revocation of a licence.
The number of written warnings works out at 62 per cent of all Rochdale’s food establishments - the second highest proportion in the country, and more than twice as high as the national average.
Across the UK 161,845 food-related businesses received a warning from their local councils - 26 per cent of the total number of establishments qualifying.
A Rochdale Council spokeswoman said: “We do not see our rate of letters to businesses as a negative as we give food businesses advice at every inspection /intervention and the way we record this advice is in line with the Food Standards Agency definitions. Last year we completed 100pc of our inspection programme, which not all authorities have achieved. We are really proud of this and it gives people confidence in our establishments that they are being checked.
“It is also really encouraging that we have 91pc of businesses compliant/ broadly compliant which clearly demonstrates to effectiveness of our information and interventions.
“We are pleased that businesses within the Rochdale Borough are improving and it’s great to see a thriving food economy in our borough.”
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