Food fears as only 1 in 3 checks are carried outJune 12, 2019
Britain faces food poisoning outbreaks and a repeat of the horsemeat scandal after local councils reduce standards checks because of budget cuts
- Collapse in standards checks could mean more food poisoning outbreaks
- Report revealed only 37% of standard checks were carried out in 2017-2018
- The checks are designed to ensure that the food is what it claims it is
Britain faces a repeat of the horsemeat scandal and more fatal food poisoning outbreaks following a collapse in the number of standards checks, it is claimed.
A report published by the National Audit Office today reveals that only 37 per cent of standards checks – designed to ensure food is what it says it is – were carried out in 2017-18.
At the same time, some councils are failing to carry out legally required hygiene checks. This is putting people at risk from bugs such as listeria, which was blamed for the recent deaths of three people who ate contaminated sandwiches served at two hospitals in the North West.
A report published by the National Audit Office today reveals that only 37 per cent of standards checks – designed to ensure food is what it says it is – were carried out in 2017-18 (stock image)
The problems stem from a collapse in the budgets of local councils. The official spending watchdog found that the number of council food standards staff fell by 45 per cent between 2012-13 and 2017-18.
There was also a 13 per cent fall in hygiene inspectors as a result of a 19 per cent cut in spending in this area. The NAO warns: ‘Some local authorities are failing to meet their legal responsibilities to ensure food businesses comply with the law.’
As well as the risks to human health, the failures mean businesses could be serving food that is not what it appears to be, risking a repeat of the 2013 scandal where horsemeat turned up in burgers and ready meals that were supposed to contain beef.
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