The unions says managers rejected the fears and insisted that the food hygiene inspection and enforcement service was being delivered safely.
Last week, The Journal revealed how an official audit by a national watchdog body uncovered a catalogue of failings in the way the council was handling food safety checks.
The Food Standards Agency found “significant concerns” about how the authority carries out hygiene enforcement in the near-4,000 food premises it is required to watch over.
FSA auditors called on the council to carry out a fundamental review of its service delivery – including taking a number of urgent actions – and to demonstrate how improvements could be made to improve public safety.
The findings of the critical audit, which was carried out in October last year, included concerns about a large backlog of food businesses which were overdue an inspection, inspections being carried out by unauthorised officers and inadequate record keeping.
Now Ian Fleming, Unison’s joint branch secretary at County Hall, says the union told managers that the service was creaking.
He said: “Unison members who work in public protection at Northumberland County Council warned management that the service was overburdened, and that their proposed model was unsustainable.