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Enfield condemns Which? Magazine Food hygiene ratings

Published Friday, 13 February 2015

Enfield Council has rejected claims from Which? Magazine suggesting the borough is the worst in the country for food hygiene.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety, Cllr Chris Bond, said: “Based on the methodology Which? says they have used , we can say with confidence that their researchers clearly do not understand the figures they have used to rank local authority food safety teams, that their interpretation of the data they have gathered is incorrect and their conclusions are nonsense.

“It is ludicrous to suggest, as Which? Magazine are, for example, that local authorities which identify the most shortcomings in their local food businesses are the ones which are failing residents when the reverse is quite clearly true. Under the Which? assessment criteria, the more businesses you close or prosecute for hygiene failings the worse, the job you are doing, that is clearly a ridiculous suggestion.

“We know that our dedicated inspection teams inspect hundreds of premises each year, follow the Food Standards Agency inspection guidelines for food business to the letter and are incredible tough on businesses which are not compliant with food hygiene law. We think that is the right way to protect the public from poor hygiene in food businesses and we will continue to pursue this strategy.

“As such we do not recognise the legitimacy of these league tables which actually hold light touch inspection regimes up as best practice. Unfortunately such regimes are far less likely to challenge the poor practice and hygiene failings in food businesses that are likely to endanger the public by causing food poisoning.

“This research is so fundamentally flawed that I would not wrap my chips in the paper it is printed on. We think there are better ways of measuring the performance of food safety teams.”

Notes to editors

On measures of enforcement Enfield Council ranks highly – within the top 10 per cent of local authorities in the United Kingdom. Out of the 405 Local Authorities in the United Kingdom Enfield ranked as follows; WHICH did not measure these indicators in their assessment.
• 10th highest for prosecutions
• 34th highest for voluntary closures of food businesses
• 31st highest for seizures of unfit food
• 33rd highest for service of improvement notices
• 53rd highest for written warnings

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