Cabinet members will consider Walsall Council’s annual Food Law Enforcement Service Plan (FLESP) at Cabinet on 12 February. The Plan evidences how statutory food hygiene standards in Walsall are maintained, improved and where necessary are enforced to protect the public. Cabinet will hear that the percentage of businesses achieving a ‘satisfactory’ rating in the borough has continuously improved over the last six years. This is evidenced by a comparison of figures from April 2013 – when 75.2% of food businesses had achieved a satisfactory standard, but by April of 2019, this had risen to 90.6%.
Enforcement action is also highlighted. During the last year, Environmental Health and Trading Standards staff completed nearly 1,000 visits to food businesses in the borough, most of which were unannounced. They visited 764 existing and 207 new businesses. Four businesses were closed under emergency legislation, whilst four others were prosecuted for serious breaches of food safety and hygiene legislation. In addition to this, 257 complaints relating to food, hygiene and structural conditions within food businesses were also investigated.
This work is also balanced with pro-active training to help food outlets maximise their food hygiene and safety scores, as well as produce healthier food choices through the Council’s Health Switch programme at zero cost to the business.
Councillor Garry Perry, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection said: “I’m very encouraged that food safety ratings have increased and that the borough is over 90% compliant. We will always work with those premises who may not be fully aware of the standard expected of them and have a commitment to improve.”
“This year’s report reiterates that food safety and hygiene is absolutely paramount and the Council will take robust action when businesses fail to meet satisfactory standards or wilfully disregard statutory procedures. We also provide training to businesses to help them improve. Whilst wilful cases of non-compliance are rare, businesses must understand that food hygiene laws are there for a reason – to protect the public.”