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Study reveals Bexley food hygiene standards amongst five 'most-improved' local authorities

PUBLISHED: 15:11 27 March 2017

Food Standards Agency

Food Standards Agency

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Four other London local authorities were in the bottom 10

A huge variation in food hygiene standards remains across the UK, however, Bexley is one of the five most improved local authorities, according to a study.

Which? found that the chance of a consumer buying from a food business that is not meeting hygiene standards is as high as one in three in 20 local authorities.

The consumer group analysed data submitted to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) by 386 UK local authorities and ranked those local authority areas, focusing on those considered high risk such as hospitals, care homes and schools, and medium-risk businesses such as a local restaurant or takeaway.

Four London local authority areas - Newham, Ealing, Lewisham and Camden - were all ranked in the bottom 10.

The five most-improved local authority areas since Which? last carried out its analysis two years ago are Bexley, Sunderland, Stockport, South Cambridgeshire and Barrow-in Furness.

A current review by the FSA and FSS into the food enforcement system is looking at options such as tighter checks when a food business opens and how data from businesses can be used more effectively.

But Which? said it was concerned that proposed reforms could see a potential shift towards more inspections being carried out by third parties employed by businesses in place of checks by public authorities.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home services, said: “People expect their food to be safe, but there is clearly still work to be done.

“As we prepare to leave the EU, the Government and regulators need to ensure that there is a robust, independent system of enforcement in place to give people confidence that the food they’re eating is hygienic.”

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