Food hygiene inspectors returning to businesses after months of lockdown
- Credit: Archant
After months without face-to-face visits, food hygiene inspectors are making their first trips back to the kitchen.
During the coronavirus pandemic, councils were forced to stop face-to-face food hygiene visits to contain the spread of the virus.
But now Norwich City Council, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council (KLBC), South Norfolk and Broadland councils have started heading back to businesses for visits.
Councils are currently facing a backlog of eateries requiring inspection due to the pandemic and hundreds of new businesses popping up to help the county through lockdown.
A spokesperson from the city council said: “There is naturally a substantial backlog of businesses requiring inspection, but we are working with the Food Standards Agency to address this.”
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The food hygiene rating scheme is in place to help people choose where they could like to eat and give clear information about businesses’ food hygiene standards.
Officers visiting businesses check the premises, how staff work, the food safety management in place and the types of food prepared.
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While visiting, officers can seize food which is unfit for human consumption, serve a formal legal notice or recommend prosecution in more serious cases.
Over lockdown, many councils checked on high-risk or new food businesses through virtual monitoring.
A KLBC spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic officers continued to monitor and work with high-risk food manufacturers who did not close down and resumed food hygiene visits when premises began reopening in July.
“We are working to complete the number of food hygiene visits required by the FSA.”
Before heading back to food businesses across the county, Norfolk councils have had to think about how to make sure their staff and business owners are safe.
KLBC is giving all its officers PPE, hand sanitiser and face masks and Norwich City Council is following social distancing rules and regulations.
A spokesperson from South Norfolk and Broadland councils said: “The team will adhere to all required safety measures when making their visits.”