Responding to a report by Which? on food hygiene standards across the country based on data submitted by councils, Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
“Although it is ultimately the responsibility of food manufacturers, suppliers and retailers to ensure the products they produce or sell comply fully with food safety law, are fit for consumption and pose no risk, councils work extremely hard to maintain and improve food safety standards.
“Despite the significant funding pressures affecting everyday services, councils are doing everything possible to maintain checks in this area, with several local authorities making significant improvements, as the report highlights. A reduction in inspections does not necessarily mean an increased safety risk.
“Councils knows their local areas best and target reduced resources at the riskiest businesses, while national co-ordination through the Food Standards Agency also helps to ensure that areas of the food industry most at risk are generally targeted accordingly.
“Forcing food outlets, including those who operate solely online, to prominently display their ‘Scores on the Doors’ rating – which is currently only a voluntary scheme – would not only improve consumer confidence and raise standards, but would reduce the need for and cost of enforcement action by councils.”