Friday, July 06, 2007

Council slammed in food safety report

As readers know, we often make the point that the biggest problem in Greenwich stems from the manner in which the Council does its utmost to suppress bad news. Unlike the national arena it doesn't have to worry about serious scrutiny from the press. This is not because the local press are necessarily poor, but simply because the local press have different priorities like funding themselves through advertising.

As a result the news from the Council is filtered through a publicity operation department which costs us, the residents of Greenwich, over a half a million pounds a year to run. Every single item of news in Greenwich Time is in fact a press release produced out of this costly department. We call it spin and so we wouldn't expect the Council to tell us the bad news, however we would expect them to spin the bad news to make it look good.

This is not always the case though. In fact, when really bad news is out there they simply take the ostrich approach and ignore it. What you don't know, won't hurt you (or their votes) right? Wrong. Something that the Council have not told the residents about is a report by the Foods Standards Agency which was finally published a few weeks ago about the food safety regime the Council operates on licensed premises. The report (pdf) states, and we quote directly in order to create a Daily Mail-esque outrage in you.
Comparisons between the statistical monitoring returns submitted to the Agency by the Authority and reports run from the database system as part of the audit, highlighted incomplete data and inaccuracies. These included a failure to identify food standards premises within an inspection programme; a significant number of unrated premises; duplicate entries; inconsistencies with premises profiles and the recording of informal samples for analysis as official samples.
False and inaccurate submissions of data? Food premises running unchecked?
The Authority did not have an up to date and accurate list of Approved Premises. There was limited information on paper files, which were incomplete and poorly organized. Consequently auditors could not confirm whether appropriate procedures had been followed and if a comprehensive premises assessment had been carried out in every case.
Bad document management? Surely not?
On the basis of the information provided to the auditors, audit checks indicated that complete and chronological records, relating to formal enforcement activity, surveillance sampling and inspections, had not been maintained in all cases.
Poor record keeping? A failure to keep up premise inspection and sampling of food stuffs? Do read the full report it's fascinating.

Incidentally, we hope you enjoy that kebab you were planning on having tonight. We're sure it'll be fine. Look at it this way, botox is essentially botchulism, so it might get rid of some wrinkles! OK, it might kill you, but that's a price worth paying for a clear wrinkle-free complexion surely?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naturally the Cabinet Member for Trading Standards (Peter Brooks) will be resigning over this?

5:05 pm  

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