Thanet council food inspection backlog 'health risk'

Failures by Thanet council in checking hygiene standards in cafes and restaurants pose a health risk, it has been claimed.

Thanet Green Party councillor Ian Driver spoke out after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) raised concerns about a backlog of inspections by Thanet District Council.

He said he had called on the health secretary to intervene.

The FSA and Thanet council said they were working to improve services.

A report by Thanet council, which is under no overall control, said the FSA audited its food service in November 2011 and and found it was poor.

'Life and death'

It said an inspection in July 2013 raised concerns about the levels of outstanding inspections.

After an updated action plan was published on the FSA website on Wednesday, Mr Driver said: "I am dreadfully concerned.

"When you're talking about food safety, you're talking potentially about life and death and I think if a service is not functioning to the correct levels then there's certainly an escalated risk to the health and safety of Thanet people."

Thanet council said it had been working to an agreed action plan to improve the service, and had recruited more staff.

In a statement, the FSA said: "Consumer safety is the number one priority for the FSA and Thanet council and we are already working closely with the local authority to improve food safety services.

"An updated action plan was agreed over summer and we will be monitoring progress against this closely."

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