Campaigners are warning of a ‘gaping hole’ in the UK’s food safety regime as new figures reveal that high numbers of food inspections are being missed in Northern Ireland, Wales and England every year.
More than 50,000 food hygiene checks were outstanding in the period 2017/18 according to a Freedom of Information request obtained by Unchecked.uk, a pressure group which campaigns to highlight the real world costs of a failure to enforce rules.
And according to the findings, only 11 per cent of councils in the three regions covered managed to carry out all their planned food checks in time. Shockingly, eight local authorities reported missing more than 1000 inspections at local food businesses.
On a more positive note, the information supplied showed that there had been 90 per cent compliance on food safety across all those premises that were inspected, although again, 80 per cent of the highest risk, A-rated premises and 36 per cent of B-rated premises all failed to meet basic food hygiene standards.
Commenting on the findings, Emma Rose, unchecked.uk founder and project lead, conceded that compliance in high risk premises was poor and said that the number of overdue food checks raised questions about whether the UK’s food safety regime was fit for purpose:
‘Local authority enforcement teams are just not being given the tools they need to do their job, which is undermining their efforts to keep people safe,’ she added.