Consumer group Which? has compiled its ranking after studying the latest data submitted by 398 UK local authorities to the Food Standards Agency.
The research focused on three criteria: the proportion of premises ranked as high or medium risk in a local authority that were compliant with food hygiene requirements; the percentage of premises that had been rated for risk; and the proportion of inspections and other follow-ups that were carried out by local authority inspectors.
The bottom 10 local authorities on food enforcement are:
- City of Edinburgh
- Perth and Kinross
Councillor Ranjit Dheer, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for community services and safety, said: “Ealing has one of the highest numbers of food premises in London with more than 3,200 establishments including large food manufacturers, restaurants, cafes and shops. It is wholly inappropriate to compare Ealing Council to authorities with far fewer food premises, including boroughs with a very different profile of complex food businesses.
“The methodology Which? says they have used demonstrates a complete lack of understanding and total disregard for the complexities of the roles being undertaken by food safety teams across the country. We seriously question the legitimacy of the report and the purpose of the league tables.
“Public safety is a priority for Ealing Council. It has a strong environmental health team which does not hesitate to take enforcement action where there is a risk to public health. In 2013/2014, the council served the highest number of Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notices of the London boroughs and the second highest number nationally.”
Environment, crime and community safety Harrow councillor, Varsha Parmar, said: “I am sure these figures are concerning for the residents of Harrow, but since this report was compiled Harrow Council has worked hard to improve our inspection procedure.
“We have now employed more staff and have agreed an action plan with the Food Standards Agency. These staff are currently working with local establishments and over 85% of the ones we have visited to have been found to be compliant with food hygiene law. Our staff are working with the remaining establishments to ensure they meet the required standards. This process is expected to take some time, but we are confident we will move up the table in the coming years.”