An analysis by the Guardian has shown that more than 500 care providers in the UK, including 19 hospitals and other NHS facilities, have failed food hygiene and food safety inspections.
Using data published by the Food Standards Agency the newspaper discovered that more than 200 residential, nursing and care homes received “low grades” at their most recent inspection. Nurseries, childcare centres and playgroups didn’t do much better.
Still, more than 98% of the hospitals and care providers assessed achieved a rating of three or better – three out of five is deemed to be “satisfactory” in the FSA score system.
The newspaper also published data showing that one in seven UK takeaways and one in 13 UK restaurants have failed the hygiene tests. Of the 460,000 businesses the FSA has assessed, 30,000 (6.4%) scored between zero and two. Around 1,400 scored zero.
The analysis revealed “huge discrepancies” in hygiene levels around the country – some local authorities failed large numbers of outlets, whilst others only failed a handful.
The findings have led to renewed calls for food outlets to publicly display their scores. Clive Betts, chair of the community and local government committee, said he was supportive of mandatory display. “There is a real problem at present,” he explained. “The only places that display their scores are the businesses that receive good scores but actually it’s the ones that get a bad score that you need to know about.”
Phil Shelley, national chair for the Hospital Caterers Association said: “We work hard with our members and the industry as a whole, to help them raise the bar for nutrition, hydration and safety within hospital food. If for whatever reason standards in individual hospitals and trusts are not met then it is imperative that this is quickly highlighted and rapidly amended.”