We haven’t reported on the local food hygiene ratings lately, – you can find them on the Food Standards Agency website here.
Out of the 418 premises in Rochford District, there are currently two places with zero stars out of five, and seven places with just one star.
“Betts called the food inspection service “one of the unsung services of local government” – a service the public doesn’t usually notice, but would “suddenly become aware [of] if they weren’t there”.
“There is a worry with cuts to local authorities and budgets, food inspection is one of the areas that has been hit the hardest, so it’s important that what work they do do gets results,” he said.
Cuts to local government funding have meant the number of food inspectors has declined in recent years. The ratio of food safety inspectors to businesses has dropped from 4.2 full-time inspectors per 1,000 food businesses in 2012-13, to 3.7 per 1,000 in 2014-15. This figure is dragged down considerably by England, where there are only 3.2 officers per 1,000 businesses, compared with 5.7 per 1,000 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Betts said that as well as being effective, a mandatory display scheme was likely to be cost-effective.
“The inspections are done, so there’s no extra cost to the local authority and there’s no cost to the business of sticking something in the window,” he said.”