Luton Council’s Labour Executive Committee has decided to cut food premises inspections as part of a plan to save £78,000 a year. The report, considered by the Executive Committee on Monday 12th December, says there is a risk that the plan would reduce the numbers of medium risk food businesses inspected and will result in a decline in standards.
All Councils have to have a Food Law Enforcement Service Plan and the one adopted by the Labour Council in July stated that the Council would not meet its statutory obligations, that 124 medium high risk food businesses due a hygiene intervention will not get one and included a 30% reduction in microbiological examinations & analysis.
The government Food Standards Agency insists microbiological examination & analysis of food including inspection for, and identification of, insects is a priority.
“The Council’s Food Law Enforcement Service Plan is already unsafe and we tried to get them to change it last July,” says Liberal Democrat leader Cllr David Franks. “To cut back even further must present a serious health risk to Luton residents.”
“Most food establishments in Luton operate to very high standards of hygiene and produce & sell perfectly safe high quality food to satisfied customers, but sadly not all achieve the required standards.”
“Just look around the town, you cannot avoid seeing the explosion in numbers of fast food shops and it’s the Council’s job to make sure they all live up to the high standards of the best. Yet with a service plan which says the Council will not meet its statutory obligations they are now planning even more cuts.”
“Horrible, food hygiene related health problems like e-coli are on the increase. People die of e-coli. Yet Luton’s Labour Council plans to cut back on food premises inspections at a time when risks are increasing and the number of fast food outlets is rapidly increasing.”
The plan will now be looked at by the Council’s Scrutiny Board which can make recommendations for changes if it feels these are necessary.