Businesses sent warning letters over food hygiene breaches

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More than 450 written warnings were handed out to businesses in Blackpool for food hygiene issues over the last year, due to problems such as cleanliness and separation of foods.

Data from the Food Standards Agency shows the results of food hygiene intervention inspections in the local authority, over the 12 months to April.

The businesses inspected are mostly restaurants, but include any establishment which handles unpacked food including farms, manufacturers and catering companies.

Inspectors assessed 2,345 businesses and handed out 472 written warnings in Blackpool.

Any breach of food hygiene regulations can lead to a written warning. Breaches include problems with cleanliness, training of staff, record keeping, washing facilities and separation of cooked and raw foods.

As well as the written warnings, in Blackpool there were 42 hygiene improvement notices, 14 cautions, three voluntary closures and two hygiene prohibition notices.

Inspectors carried out eight successful prosecutions in court, for food hygiene breaches. High risk scores were given to two businesses. This means they need to be inspected again within six months.

This rating is different from the 0 to 5 score that restaurants and takeaways display in their windows, as it is an indicator of when officials need to assess the business again. A business which gets a high risk rating is “highly likely” to have breached food hygiene regulations, according to the FSA.

More than 150,000 written warnings were handed out in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2017-18, with 267 successful prosecutions.

Nina Purcell, director of Regulatory Delivery at the FSA, said: “It’s encouraging that local authorities have made improvements in the percentage of interventions achieved and are continuing to target their activities at food businesses where food safety risks are the highest or where food fraud is more likely.”

An FSA spokeswoman encouraged people who see bad food hygiene to report it to the council.