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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Learning lessons

This morning's Western Mail carries an article on the important but disturbing report by Consumer Focus Wales, which names and shames publicly and privately- run institutions with poor hygiene standards.

The main kitchen at Morriston Hospital, in Swansea, and the child and adolescent mental health unit at Glanrhyd Hospital, in Bridgend, are among premises awarded a “one” rating but no details about breaches to food hygiene regulations are available under the scheme run by the Food Standards Agency.

Consumer Focus Wales are absolutely right to call for greater transparency from councils and for the FSA to publish the full hygiene reports for each premises. It also wants the Assembly Government to use its new law-making powers to require food businesses to display their hygiene ratings on business premises:

Maria Battle, senior director, Consumer Focus Wales, said: “It is not acceptable that there are publicly-funded institutions, such as hospitals and schools, serving food to vulnerable people despite failing to meet statutory requirements for food hygiene.

“The greatest tool for improving food hygiene is openness to public scrutiny by making businesses display their food hygiene ratings on the premises. What greater incentive for food producers than knowing their rating will be public and their failings will no longer be hidden?

“The fact that the vast majority of establishments serving food to vulnerable groups are achieving high ratings makes it all the more difficult to understand why a small number are rated so poorly. In some cases we have had difficulties obtaining full inspection reports in order to learn the reasons behind these poor ratings.”

There may only be nine days left of the Assembly but this is one issue that needs to be urgently addressed by the Welsh Government.
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