> FSA Report - 400 UK Care Facilities Have Unacceptable Standards - The Food Safety Company FSA Report - 400 UK Care Facilities Have Unacceptable Standards - The Food Safety Company
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    Monday, 14 November 2016

    FSA Report - 400 UK Care Facilities Have Unacceptable Standards

    A recent food hygiene report by the Food Standards Authority (FSA) has revealed that over 400 hospitals, care homes and nurseries in the UK are rated at 2 or lower out of 5, indicating the need for major, urgent, or necessary improvements to food hygiene standards. The report was damning of these facilities, citing mouldy surfaces, pest infestations and out of date food. It is especially worrying in these cases as they are supposed to be caring for vulnerable people such as children, the sick and the elderly.

    Img source: The Columbian
    The FSA inspects all premises on which food is prepared to serve to the public, such as restaurants, school, hospitals and care homes. Inspectors usually visit every six months to two years, with follow-ups for those with low scores. The scores are on a scale of 1 to 5, with zero meaning immediate improvement is necessary, and 1 and 2 considered failing scores. Although the percentage of premises with low scores is relatively low, reflecting around 1 or 2%, some of the reports contain fairly shocking examples of poor food safety.

    Care homes that received a 0 rating include Parkview Residential Care Home in Bexleyheath, which had an “infestation of Oriental cockroaches”, and Ivy House Care Home in Derby, which had a rat’s nest and droppings in the kitchen. There were also nurseries with the minimum score, such as The Fairy Tales Nursery at Glen Parva, Leicestershire, which was closed down due to a mouse infestation. The nursery has since been taken over by another company.

    Around 187 health and care facilities (including 3 hospitals) received the low score of 1, indicating the need for major improvement, and another 205 (including 6 hospitals) were given the still unacceptable score of 2. Some were making food in dirty or mouldy kitchens, and others were failing to follow use-by dates. One location was even using the same vacuum-packing machine to package raw and cooked meat.

    Img source: Stock7000
    Katherine Murphy, head of the Patients Association, told The Telegraph that the results were “shameful” and “immensely worrying,” given that these were all institutions supposed to be serving the vulnerable of society.

    Places given a zero rating by FSA inspectors are either closed or given 28 days to tackle any urgent problems, with subsequent visits to check that corrective action has been taken. The business can then either pay £160 to get a new score or wait for a new scheduled assessment, about six months later.

    An FSA spokesperson stated that “an overwhelming majority, almost 99 per cent, of hospitals and other care providers achieve a food hygiene rating of ‘3 – generally satisfactory’ or better. The food safety officer from the local authority will be taking the necessary action to ensure that the issues identified at caring premises with a lower rating are addressed and that vulnerable people are not put at risk."

    This is true, and it’s comforting to remember that the vast majority of food preparation facilities achieve respectable hygiene standards. However, it is problematic any time a business fails, especially one taking care of the vulnerable members of society. It highlights the valuable work that the FSA does, and the importance of sticking to a good food safety plan.

    Sam Franklin

    With a master’s in Literature, Sam inhales books and anything readable, spending his working hours reformulating the info he gathers into digestible articles. When not reading or writing, he likes to put his camera to work around the world, snapping street photography from Stockholm to Tokyo. Too much of this time spent in Japan teaching English has nurtured a weakness for sashimi, Japanese whisky, and robot cafés.
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