Watchdog slams Welsh government over food law

A statutory organisation that campaigns for a fair deal for consumers has criticised the Welsh Government for failing to publish a review on food law enforcement a year after it was due.

Consumer Focus Wales says that while many of the food safety steps recommended in a report by Professor Pennington have been implemented, the details have not been publicised enough.

It said the action plans were not easily available on the websites or search engines of 16 of the 22 local authorities in Wales.

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Liz Withers, head of policy at Consumer Focus Wales, said: “We are disappointed that a year on from our last report, the Food Standards Agency food law enforcement review, commissioned by the Welsh Government, has yet to be published. It is 12 months overdue – this simply isn’t good enough for consumers in Wales.”

The report calls for the Welsh Government, the FSA, inspectorates, local authorities and Local Health Boards to work together to ensure that where publically-funded premises such as schools and hospitals receive a food hygiene inspection rating of two or below, senior management are made aware of this and take urgent action to improve standards.

“Whilst consumers are not as concerned about models of delivery as they are about being protected, the review should provide important evidence as to the state of food law enforcement currently,” adds Withers. “It will also help to indicate the next steps for food law enforcement in Wales.”

It also states there is a need for the FSA to work with local authorities to ensure a consistent understanding of how to inspect, monitor and report around adequate food management systems, based on HACCP and ensure that businesses have such systems in place.

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