The recent spell of relatively warm weather after the sub Arctic winter and early Spring has led many to dust off the Barbecue in the hope of...
A non - EHO's view of the industry
I am going to take this opportunity to give my two penneth’s worth on the contract catering, leisure and hotel industries. All too often I feel rather bewildered in this organisation when the consultants are discussing the complexities of HACCP, the risks of Sous Vide cooking and the juxtaposition between new age tablet auditing against the merits of pen and paper auditing. This is my time to shed light on the weekly going’s on in our target sectors.
The primary article on my agenda this week is the fact that Welsh Government is outlining plans to introduce £1000 fines to Food Business operators who do not display their Food Rating Score. Strong food hygiene practices are vital for the protection of public health, and the displaying of scores should serve to raise the bar. This proposal can be seen as an opportunity for those businesses who practice good standards to benefit from the exposure of their rating. Research conducted in Wales has found that even when businesses have a good rating, they are choosing not to display it – it almost seems like the food business operators are not buying into the rating concept. The public should be able to make an informed decision on where they eat – they should be able to differentiate between those food operators who are highly compliant with food safety laws and those who are not. Currently, all 22 Welsh local authorities run the Food Standards Agency’s rating scheme, however the proposed change will not become enacted in law until at least 2014.
The Food Safety Ratings scheme interests me greatly, however I feel it may be flawed until such a measure as proposed by the Welsh is introduce in England. Following research trawling through the rating listings of business I am familiar with, I began to notice a trend. It seemed that the vast majority of offenders (scoring 0-2 stars) were those catering to the imbibed consumer. When people are under the influence, their awareness towards the ‘safety’ of their food flies out of the window. The food operators are well aware of this fact and exploit it. Only last week, I was stood in a kebab / fried chicken shop on West Street in Sheffield asking the proprietor what his rating was. He informed me some confidence that he scored 4 stars. Following a brief investigation on my Blackberry, the Sheffield rating website informed me that his business in fact scored 2 stars. When I brought this to his attention, he laughed and said ‘nobody who comes in here cares’. It seems like the lower echelon food operators thrive on the ignorance of the average consumer. In my layman’s opinion, in order for this rating scheme to be successful it needs to be harder hitting. The scores should be displayed, and the public should be made aware of how poor practices must be to score 0 or 1 star.
· Professor Duncan Maskell has been reappointed an expert member of the General Advisory Committee on Science. At the end of this reappointment, he will have served seven years on the committee. Prof. Maskell is opposed to the Tesco in Great Shelford, scored 11 out of 24 on the British Citizenship test, plays bouncing balls, and really should get a private Facebook profile
· Whitebread and Cubex are planning to develop a £5million hotel and restaurant on a site on the outskirts of Glastonbury. The 60 bedroom develop is likely to create over 50 part and full time positions.
· Soric international has predicted a buoyant outlook on hospitality recruitment in the UK during 2012. In 2011, 106 hotels containing 11,800 rooms opened and 170 with 21,500 rooms are expected in 2012. HVS London asserts that the outlook for 2012 will depend on the availability of debt to fund hotel transactions and complete long overdue refurbishments. Across the UK, the revenue per available room increased by 5.3% from 2010 to 2011.