Food safety compliance rates ‘vary across UK’

A new report from consumer organisation Which? has highlighted significant difference in levels of food hygiene compliance around the UK.

The league table of local authority food hygiene enforcement revealed that the best performing local authorities in the UK were Brentwood in Essex and Cherwell in North Oxfordshire.

Both councils ensured that nearly 100 per cent of their high and medium risk businesses were compliant with hygiene rules, had rated almost all their food businesses and carried out all of their planned interventions.

The worst performing local authorities were Enfield in London and the City of Edinburgh. In Enfield, only 54 per cent of high and medium risk food businesses were compliant with food hygiene.

In the Basildon District Council area, 94.8 per cent of food premises had been rated and 84.7 per cent of those were rated broadly compliant.

The findings, published on 13 February, were based on data submitted by 398 local authorities to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on the levels of high and medium risk businesses in their areas that were compliant with food hygiene requirements. They also took into account the number of planned interventions achieved and the number of food businesses not yet rated.

Which? has used its research to create an interactive map showing how well UK local authorities are performing in ensuring food businesses comply with food hygiene rules.

Failure to comply with food safety rules can result in a fine of up to £20,000 per Food Safety Act offence and a prison sentence of up to six months in the magistrates courts, with potential penalties rising to jail terms of up to two years and/or unlimited fines if a case goes to Crown Court.

Palmers can provide expert advice to facing action by food safety authorities with the aim of avoiding prosecution wherever possible.

For more information on how we can assist in the event of verbal or written warnings issued by local authorities, improvement notices, emergency prohibition notices, investigations or food safety prosecutions, please contact Jeremy Sirrell.