Wales starts restaurant inspection disclosure; mom of E. coli child death says system sucks

I know golf is boring. I only play the game when I don’t want to be with my wife. I like my wife, I don’t golf anymore.

The golf world is all a twitter with the Ryder Cup being held in Newport, Wales. Amy and Sorenne and I were there in January to visit the Powell family tree.

But in the food safety world, Wales is probably most famous for its terrible food safety failings in 2005.

Sharon Mills, the mother of 5-year-old Mason Jones, who was tragically killed in a 2005 E. coli outbreak in Wales that sickened 160 school kids, said the U.K. Food Standards Agency is putting the interests of businesses before public safety.

Abby Alford of the Western Mail reports that Mills comments came as the roll-out of a new food hygiene rating scheme, which will grade the cleanliness of more than 30,000 Welsh food retailers, began Friday.

Ms Mills, of Deri, near Bargoed, Caerphilly, said: “The FSA’s decision not to base ratings on existing environmental health inspection reports provides a get-out clause to failing restaurants, cafes, shops, pubs and takeaways, as does the decision not to make it mandatory for them to display their rating.”

Environmental health officers in the 22 local authorities have been told to award the food hygiene ratings from 0 for the worst to five for the best, based on routine inspections carried out after today. Businesses are inspected at six, 12 and 18-month intervals depending on the risk they pose. After their next inspection their rating will be uploaded to a dedicated website
Ms Mills said it would be months before the ratings would be made available to the public.

An FSA spokeswoman said it was not feasible to launch the scheme with all Welsh food businesses listed from the outset. But she added that within a 12-month period the highest risk categories of food businesses would have been visited at least once and their score ratings would be available.

Regarding mandatory display of the ratings, she said it would have required a change in legislation, which would have resulted in an “unwelcome delay” in implementing the scheme.

This is bureaucratic nonsense which the FSA has become famous for, especially its piping hot cooking recommendation.

Ms Mills said,

“It was this soft-touch approach which allowed William Tudor to continue trading and which ultimately led to the 2005 outbreak which cost Mason his life.”