Tendring: Businesses give overwhelming support for food hygiene scheme
- Credit: Archant 2013
A COUNCIL is likely to sign up to a national food hygiene scheme after being warned it risked being left behind if it did not.
Officials at Tendring District Council say the move is under consideration after they consulted with businesses in the area that will be affected by the five-star rating system.
More than half of the 100 questionnaires sent out recently were returned and 90% of those were in favour of the scheme, which was introduced two years ago by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Currently, Tendring is one of only three councils in the country that has not signed up to the scheme – the other two are Rutland and Greenwich.
The system is run by local authorities, which are responsible for carrying out inspections of restaurants, cafes and hotels. It enables members of the public to search online for a food business and view its score out of five.
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Last month, chairman of the FSA Lord Jeff Rooker hinted that businesses in Tendring, especially those reliant on tourism trade, may suffer if they were excluded.
But Tendring’s cabinet member for environment and coast protection, Nick Turner, said it was always his intention to wait for the outcome of the consultation exercise before committing to the scheme.
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He said: “I was a little unsure about the scheme and I like to ask and offer, rather than tell and demand.
“We now have the responses back from our businesses and they have been very positive about the idea.”
Mr Turner said the council already has a statutory duty to ensure that premises are safe for people to eat in.
He added: “We already have a very good system of inspections in place and we visit all such establishments.
“The FSA is suggesting that while we are there we give out a star rating up to five so they can put the score on the door for people to see. All the rated premises are also on a national database which people can look up before going there and it will be a boost for the businesses and tourism.”
Mr Turner said that the businesses have made it clear they want to take part in the scheme and he will look to support them in their wishes. He said he will ask for a report to be prepared and be put before the authority’s cabinet for a decision.