Improvements made, but Wales still struggling with food safety

 The Welsh government has been criticized by a consumer group for failing to publish a key food safety review, more than a year after it was due.

Madeleine Brindly reports that Consumer Focus Wales called on First Minister Carwyn Jones to make public the findings of a report he commissioned in 2010 into how best to enforce food hygiene regulations in Wales. The Food Standards Agency report should have been published in February 2011.

Overall the consumer body said good progress has been made implementing the 24 recommendations made by official inquiry that followed the 2005 deadly E.coli O157 outbreak that claimed the life of five-year-old Mason Jones in the South Wales Valleys.

Consumer Focus Wales has praised a proposed new law to force restaurants and takeaways to display their food hygiene rating scores.

Liz Withers, head of policy at Consumer Focus Wales, said, “There have been great strides in food safety, with the Welsh Government promising to make it law for the mandatory display of food hygiene ratings on food business premises.

“But we are disappointed a year on from our last report, the Food Standards Agency food law enforcement review, commissioned by the Welsh Government, has yet to be published. It is 12 months overdue – this simply isn’t good enough for consumers in Wales.”

Professor Hugh Pennington led the inquiry into the 2005 E. coli O157 outbreak in the South Wales valleys, which was caused by rogue butcher William John Tudor and killed five-year-old Deri schoolboy Mason Jones.

The Consumer Focus Wales report, the third of its kind, said many of the Pennington recommendations have not been implemented.