Some providers of care are falling short of standards for food hygiene set by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
There were over 200 care homes with low levels of food hygiene at their last FSA inspection which presents the largest category of care providers. The next largest category are nurseries, children’s centres and out of school care establishments with a similar number failing to meet standards. Interestingly also 19 hospitals and NHS services failed to meet FSA standards.
The FSA ranks providers on a scale of zero to five: awards of three to five are satisfactory grades and one to two are considered as failing grades. A rating of zero would result in either the immediate closure of the establishment or 28 days to improve following which further inspections occur to ensure the necessary improvements have been made. Some of the issues found at care homes involved expired food, cross contamination of raw/cooked food and a lack of food safety management documentation.
Only 2% of all care providers receive low grades which seems like a small figure as compared to the 98% who receive satisfactory grades. Of concern is the fact that the majority of users of the care providers who fail to meet food hygiene standards are vulnerable and they are only able to consume food from that provider. The importance of safe food hygiene for these individuals is of the upmost importance as a failing might persist for some time and cause considerable harm to the health of those that are being cared for.
It is hoped that the number of provider that fall foul of the standards set by the FSA will continue to fall in both number and severity as this will be illustrative of a strong commitment by all providers to the highest levels of food hygiene for those in their care.