Monday, 30 September 2013

LABOUR URGE CHIEF EXECUTIVE TO INVESTIGATE COUNCILLOR ‘SCARES’ OVER FOOD SAFETY

LABOUR URGE CHIEF EXECUTIVE TO INVESTIGATE COUNCILLOR ‘SCARES’ OVER FOOD SAFETY
‘I’ve written to seek assurances from CEO on food safety and to investigate ‘scare stories’ circulated by Conservative councillors’ – Grant Davey

Leader of Northumberland’s Labour group and the County Council Grant Davey has written to Council Chief Executive Steve Stewart to ‘seek assurances over stories circulated by Conservative group leader Peter Jackson and his colleague Councillor Wayne Daley about the county food safety regime’.

The comments by Jackson and Daley have been branded as ‘scare-mongering’ amid fears that county wide trade and businesses could be affected and Davey has revealed that the councillor’s concerned failed to raise any concerns about food safety at a meeting on 11 Sept yet have raised further issues in the local newspapers and media.

Councillor Daley also suggested ‘people in Northumberland could be poisoned’ because of weaknesses in the food standards inspection regime but the county council officially disputed these comments highlighting that officers had visited and assessed 2,946 food establishments in 2012/13. The council also revealed that it had increased the number of staff in the area by 20% since 2011 and had instituted an action plan after a damning Food Safety report was issued by the Food Standards Agency under the previous Liberal Democrat administration which was ‘on target to be completed in the agreed timescale’.

Grant Davey said
‘The people of Northumberland will rightly expect that our food standards regime is working effectively which is why I was disturbed to read the comments made by Councillor’s Jackson and Daley. I’ve asked the CEO to investigate whether their comments were justified and whether they have breached the councillor Code of Conduct. My worry is that this issue has been used to score cheap party political points and it has raised concerns that will alarm people across the county. These comments by the Conservative group risk undermining confidence in local businesses and the county food standards regime and I’m seeking an answer to the very basic question – if the councillor’s had concerns, then why didn’t they raise them here first rather than run to the local media?’.

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