News
for the month of November, 2011

Three more local authorities launch the FHRS

4th of November 2011

Blackpool Council, London Borough of Sutton and Fenland District Council have rolled out the FSA’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. More than 170 local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are now publishing over 130,000 ratings at food.gov.uk/ratings.

Other local authorities will be rolling out the scheme over the next few months.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme helps you choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving you information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels and other places you eat, as well as in supermarkets and other food shops.

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Croydon Council names 11 restaurants failing hygiene standards

11th of November 2011

Croydon Council has named and shamed the most unhygienic restaurants in the borough.

Eleven restaurants in the borough are under investigation after scoring zero in food safety and hygiene inspections.

Croydon Council is in the process of investigating each establishment after its inspectors found them to require urgent improvement on the way food is prepared, cooked or stored, the cleanliness of the building and how the business manages its records.

Restaurants including My Old China Restaurant, Godstone Road, Croydon, Taj Mahal, Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath and Errols Cafe, Surrey Street, Croydon now face prosecution unless they make urgent improvements to their cleanliness.

A spokesman for Croydon Council, who carried out the inspections, said 11 sites have had notices served on them, or are in the process of being prosecuted.

He said: “The premises that we close have to have an imminent risk to health, usually have a pest problem – generally mice or cockroaches. This usually goes hand in hand with poor cleaning.”

Every restaurant in the borough is inspected on a regular basis with the results published online through the Food Standards Agency, which is updated monthly.

A business found to be failing is given advice on the day and sent follow-up letters before legal notices are served.

While 11 businesses have a score of zero, a further 90 received a score of one, meaning they require major improvement.

In contrast 160 were awarded top marks of five out of five.

These included the Burger King in Croydon University Hospital, kebab and burger joints Abra Kebabra in Shirley and Fingers Kebab in Central Parade, New Addington.

Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: “The council has a really important role to play in ensuring that people can eat out in Croydon and be confident that they will not be put at risk.

“There are a huge number of fantastic restaurants, takeaways and cafes in the borough, and I’m pleased at how few are currently scoring low marks on this inspection system.”

ZERO RATING
Anikas, Selsdon Parade, Addington, South Croydon
Dosa Lounge, St James Road, Croydon Errols Cafe, Surrey Street, Croydon
Kabada Brighton Road, Croydon Miss Ellies Cafe, Mitcham Road
My Old China Restaurant, Godstone Road, Croydon
Rubicorn Restaurant Takeaway, Station Road, West Croydon
Sara’s Diner, Church Street, Croydon
Shahee Bhelpoori, London Road, Croydon
Sheimaran Restaurant, London Road, Croydon
Taj Mahal, Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath

5 STARS
Abra Kebabra, Wickham Road, Croydon
Burger King Croydon University Hospital, London Road, Croydon
Clocktower Cafe Town Hall And Clock Cafe Katharine Street Croydon
Companions Takeaway 145 Milne Park East Croydon
Cosmo, Hesterman Way, Croydon
Croydon Football Club, Albert Road,Croydon
Fingers Kebab, Central Parade, Croydon
Food For U, Beulah Road, Croydon Ikea, Volta Way, Croydon

Steve Naldrett of Ardan Training says ” It can be clearly seen, that those that take food safety seriously and take time to train staff and invest in cleaning, continue to prosper and benefit from good publicity, whilst those that clearly do not will suffer the consequences”.

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

11th of November 2011
We are looking for people who have food safety expertise. A number of people have already registered their interest in becoming volunteers to support environmental health functions in the run up to and during the London 2012 Games but we need more. There will be a variety of roles and we welcome applications from students who have carried out at least two years of study on an accredited course.
What’s involved
There will be a group of environmental health volunteers, focussing on food safety, operating within the Olympic Park and at other competition venues across the country. The inside venue teams will be responsible for checking food safety operating practices to assist LOCOG and the catering contractors to achieve the highest standards of food safety, responding to any food safety challenges and contributing to contingency arrangements within the venues.
You can find out more about environmental health volunteering for London 2012 and view the job outline here.
Opportunities to volunteer will become available from January 2012. You can decide how many days you wish to volunteer for and tell us when you are available.
How to register your interest
If you would like to be considered as a volunteer and make a definite commitment to be involved, register your interest here. This will help us find out more about you, how you can help and add you to our register.
The closing date for applications is 18 November 2011 and the appointment process will take place during December.
Contact us
If you would like more information please email Sharon Smith, Strategic Projects Director CIEH on s.smith@cieh.org

Closure orders on food businesses- Irish Times

13th of November 2011

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland served a record 12 enforcement orders on food businesses across the State in October.

Closure orders were served on Helvick Viviers, Ring, Dungarvan, Co Waterford; Café Verde, University of Limerick; Sopot Styl, Fermoy, Cork; Lin’s, Ballylanders, Limerick; The Deadman’s Inn, Ballyfin, Laois; Mr Kebab, Claremorris, Mayo; Doyles (closed area: Fleet St, basement only), College Street, Dublin; Phoenix Garden Chinese, Bridge Street, Westport, Mayo; Spring Garden Chinese restaurant/takeaway, Buttevant, Cork; China Inn (closed area: main kitchen and associated food preparation room) Watergrasshill, Cork; The Fir Tree Bar (closed area: main kitchen and associated food preparation area), also Watergrasshill.

ref.Irish Times

Campylobacter in chickens

16th of November 2011

I’m not sure whether to be reassured or despondent at the results of the Republic of Ireland’s latest campylobacter in chicken survey. The results show 84% of shop bought chicken is contaminated with campylobacter and of these, 67% is C. jejuni and 32% C. coli (the main types that cause illness in people).

Full Blog

Gas engineers fined over carbon monoxide poisoning in Cardiff

16th of November 2011

An engineer called in to investigate a gas leak in an office block was nearly killed by carbon monoxide poisoning following faulty work on a boiler.

Cardiff Magistrates’ Court today heard John Courtney, 55, from Penarth, was almost overcome by deadly fumes when he was sent to investigate a possible gas leak at Mount Stewart House in Mount Stewart Square, Cardiff on 22 October 2010.

During the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, the court heard Christopher Bates and Lewis John Rees, partners at BR Greenwell Heating and Plumbing Services of Llantrisant attended Mount Stewart House on 21 October 2010 to repair an open flue gas boiler. The men fitted a new gas control valve and left the premises.

The following day, Mr Courtney, an employee of Wales and West Utilities, attended the site following a report of a gas smell. When he entered the cellar to investigate, he suffered the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning and was taken to hospital.

When the fire service measured CO levels, they found there was more than 16 times the maximum safe CO level over an eight-hour period.

HSE’s investigation found the gas valve was incorrectly adjusted so the boiler produced high levels of carbon monoxide.

Both defendants were registered with the Gas Safe Register but did not have an appropriate certificate under the Accredited Certification Scheme to confirm competency for work on the gas boiler, which was a commercial gas-fired hot water boiler.

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Workplace Deaths Rise

24th of November 2011

The number of workers fatally injured has risen, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced.

Official HSE data shows 171 people were fatally injured at work between April 2010 and March 2011 compared to 147 the previous year.

Judith Hackitt, HSE’s chair, said: ‘Britain can be proud that it has one of the best health and safety records in Europe but as the increase in the number of fatalities makes clear we can never let up in our commitment to addressing the serious risks which continue to cause death and injury in workplaces.’

The HSE, she added, will continue to work with employers, employees and other organisations to maintain and, where necessary improve, health and safety standards.

The construction industry, which has 173.2 major injuries per 100,000 employees, and agricultural industry, which has 221.9 major injuries per 100,000 employees, continued to report the ‘highest levels’ of work-related injuries, with a ‘disproportionately high’ numbers of incidents.

Overall, injury and ill-health resulted in 26.4m working days being lost, an average of 15 days per case – 22.1m to ill-health and 4.4m to injury.

The HSE stressed that there was an ongoing downward trend for the number of people injured and made unwell at work.

Full Story

HSE targets asbestos training

26th of November 2011

More than 4,000 builders and contractors will be offered free asbestos awareness training as part of a campaign by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to reduce the high number of asbestos-related deaths and illnesses.

The HSE said it had an ‘overwhelming response’ from training firms willing to sign up to the scheme. Throughout October and November a total of 7,987 hours of classroom and 5,570 hours of online training are being delivered through companies up and down the country.

Some courses are also being provided in Romanian, Russian and Polish translations.

It is estimated that around 4,000 workers die each year through mesothelioma, asbestosis and other related diseases contracted by working with asbestos. The annual number of mesothelioma deaths has sharply increased over the last 40 years, from 153 in 1968 to 2,249 in 2008.

Karen Clayton, HSE director for long latency health risks, said she expected demand for the courses to be high and that there had been a ‘real groundswell’ of support from training providers.

She added: ‘A few hours in the classroom or in front of a computer could add decades to someone’s life. The courses could literally be a life saver.’

Stress 'most common' cause of sickness

28th of November 2011

Stress has become the most common cause of long-term sickness absence according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

For manual workers stress is now level with acute medical conditions and has overtaken musculoskeletal problems. For non-manual workers stress has moved ahead of acute medical conditions.

Dr Jill Miller, CIPD adviser, said: ‘The survey this year shows that stress is for the first time the number one cause of long-term sickness absence, highlighting the heightened pressure many people feel under in the workplace as a result of the prolonged economic downturn.’

Andrew Griffith, CIEH principal officer, said this survey shows just how big an impact stress has on the economy in terms of working days lost.

‘We regret that the government appears to be pressurising HSE to give a much lower priority to tackling stress. We would urge members to ensure that this fundamental health and safety issue is and addressed and dealt with when carrying out audits of health and safety systems,’ he said.

Stress-related absence among public sector organisations increased with 50 per cent of these respondents reporting a rise.

Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training Consultancy Limited said ” employers under-estimate the importance of stress management in the workplace. It is one of the highest causes of employees being absent from the workplace.”