Hundreds of firms warned over food hygiene

There are over 1,600 food outlets in the borough of Colchester, with the council's food safety inspe

There are over 1,600 food outlets in the borough of Colchester, with the council's food safety inspectors handing out over 400 written warnings this year. Picture: JESSICA HILL - Credit: Archant

More than 400 written warnings were handed out to businesses in Colchester for food hygiene issues such cleanliness, allergens and separation of foods.

Data from the Food Standards Agency shows the results of food hygiene intervention inspections between April 2017 and April 2018, where written warnings were given for breaches with cleanliness, training of staff, record keeping, washing facilities and separation of cooked and raw foods.

The businesses inspected are mostly restaurants but include any establishment which handles unpacked food including farms, manufacturers and catering companies.

Nina Purcell, Food Standards Agency regulatory delivery director, said: “It’s encouraging that local authorities have made improvements in the percentage of interventions achieved and are continuing to target their activities at food businesses where food safety risks are the highest or where food fraud is more likely.”

Council inspectors consider the seriousness of the case, as well as the co-operation of the business, before deciding on what action to take.

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As well as the written warnings, in Colchester there were three hygiene improvement notices and two high-risk scores given out - this means they need to be inspected again within six months.

This rating is different from the zero to five score that restaurants and takeaways display in their windows, which indicates to the public the levels of food hygiene to potential customers.

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Inspectors assessed 1,606 businesses and handed out 402 written warnings in Colchester in the year 2017/18.

The figures are consistent with the previous 12-month period, when inspectors assessed 1,598 businesses and handed out 398 written warnings.

Colchester Borough Council confirmed that inspections can be carried out multiple times every year, as part of random inspections and in reaction to complaints from customers.

In total there were more than 150,000 written warnings handed out in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2017-18, and 267 successful prosecutions.

An Food Standards Agency spokesman added: “You can report poor hygiene practices in a restaurant or food outlet at the Food Standards Agency website.”

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