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Food Fight

by James Barber on 12 March 2012

The coalition appears to be heading for a food fight with plans to ban Environmental Health Officers from having the right to enter food premises to ensure they’re safe and not causing food poisoning and risking public health.

The Protection of Freedoms Bill could result in EHO’s only being able to inspect premises with the invitation of owners or a court order. Obtaining court orders takes time – allowing food poisoning to spread OR the owner to cover-up whatever the root causes of poisoning have been. The same type of problems are likely for pollution control inspectors and trading standards officers.

I really think this is a case of throwing out good regulations. Most people who eat out do so on the basis of believing businesses are responsible and regulations will find out the bad businesses. Breaking that covenant means people will feel less certain their health wont be compromised by the perfectly innocent act of spending money in local food businesses. To rely on outbreaks of food poisoning to catch badly run businesses and inspections where the business is forewarned to put on an act will see more instance of food poisoning.

Hopefully no one in East Dulwich will become a martyr for the foolishness of these changes.

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