E.coli O157 & Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome

Source of E.coli outbreak told major improvement to food hygiene was needed

16th August 2011

The Adonis Kebab House, which was closed as a precaution by Cardiff Council following an E.coli O157 outbreak is not currently listed on the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website.

It was revealed to HUSH Co-ordinator, Ishbel Mackinnon, that the shop was given a full inspection on 22nd July and was rated as one out of five under the food hygiene scheme. A Cardiff Council spokesperson said: "The current food business operator at Adonis has not been subject to any legal proceedings previously for poor food hygiene" and indicated that a certain time scale had to be given before publication of the rating to allow the opportunity for any appeal. HUSH was advised that prior to the current outbreak, an appeal to the awarded rating had been received from the Adonis Kebab House.

Developed by the FSA in conjunction with local authorities, the scheme was formed to ensure that all food outlets, such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs, are inspected by Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements.

The hygiene standards found at these inspections are rated on the following scale following an unannounced food hygiene inspection:

0 - Urgent improvement necessary

1 - Major improvement necessary

2 - Improvement necessary

3 - Generally satisfactory

4 - Good

5 - Very good

During inspections, the EHO checks how well the business is meeting the law by looking at:

how hygienically the food is handled - how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored,

the condition of the structure of the buildings - the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities,

how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe, and food safety training.

The EHO explains to the person who owns or manages the business what improvements are needed and how they can achieve the top rating of 5'. Any business should be able to reach this top rating. All ratings are sent to the food business operator within 14 days of inspection.

"The rating is due to be uploaded to the Food Standards Agency website by the 28th August," the council added.

All food businesses are encouraged to display a certificate and window sticker - making it easier for the public to see how each food business is complying with the law, but this is not compulsory. At present the ratings are published on-line, giving only consumers with internet access, the ability to check the hygiene standards of food premises. HUSH has been actively pushing for it to be compulsory for the scores to be displayed on the premises and recommended this to the public inquiry into the South Wales E.coli O157 Outbreak of 2005 and yet again during a public consultation in 2008. This was endorsed in a report presented to the Welsh Government in March 2011.

The Food Standards Agency in Wales is presently working with Welsh Government officials on a draft bill to introduce legislation on the mandatory display of ratings. Wales will be the first country in the UK to introduce a mandatory food hygiene rating scheme, something HUSH believes the other devolved governments should be addressing with some urgency.

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