Labour Group members in Northumberland can’t believe the press statements of Tory Councillors today regarding the food standards audit report which took place in October 2012 whilst they were in charge of scrutiny on behalf of the coalition parties.
Their comments may have rendered untold damage onto the food industry across Northumberland and the unsubstantiated remarks made by them may have breached the Councils strict standards procedures.
The council took immediate action before receiving the audit findings in December 2012 to address areas highlighted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in an audit conducted in October 2012.
In addition to developing a comprehensive audit action plan, the detail of which has been agreed by the FSA and the majority of actions now implemented, the public protection service continues to proactively develop service improvements so residents can be confident about food safety in Northumberland.
In 2012/13, officers undertook a total of 2,496 visits to food establishments, including programmed food hygiene inspections and food sampling visits.
Since the creation of the commercial Food Team in 2011, there are currently nine trained and qualified people working in food hygiene, which is an overall increase of two since 2011.Overall, we have a very good standard of food businesses within Northumberland, with 94% of those businesses that supply food direct to the consumer achieving a three, four or five star rating under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.
Labour took up office on May 22nd this year and had a report brought to the June Policy Board for clarification on this issue, that report indicated the work to bring the Council up to the standards stated in the FSA Auditors report was on track
Leader of Council Grant Davey said; "I will ensure that the Chief Executive of the Council, Steve Stewart fully investigates the antics of these Councillors and if it found they have breached the Standards procedures they will be brought to justice. I believe he needs to get them to explain why they have tried to frighten the public without reason and apologise unequivocally to businesses and customers across Northumberland who's trade may have been damaged through their childish attempts to make political gain at the expense of others"