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Council

A vigilant approach

I write with reference to the above story in the Advertiser, dated May 7. The headline to the story is misrepresentative and, as a consequence, is likely to raise unfounded concerns and alarm.

In keeping with strict, predetermined regulations of Care Inspectorate/council inspectors, there are unannounced inspections carried out in our establishments during the course of a year, with no enforcement notices served. The quality of food provided within our school establishments has never been a point of contention and any suggestions concerning the area of preparation, have been addressed with immediate effect.

Cognisance of the type of food provided at various establishments is taken into account when inspections are carried out. For example, at a business outlet, if the council’s inspectors identify matters that pose a risk to the consumer, the council will take the necessary action to protect consumers.

This can be written warnings and enforcement notices requiring matters to be remedied by a certain time.

Other measures can include seizure or detention of unsafe food and/or the closure of a premises where the risk is imminent. Food enforcement officers may also report offences to the Procurator Fiscal.

The rating awarded to premises following an inspection is not a ‘notice’ requiring action and it is the responsibility of the food business owners who believe they have completed sufficient work to merit a ‘pass’ to request a reassessment of their rating.

Given the above, consumers in Midlothian can be assured that the council is maintaining a vigilant approach to food safety and the enforcement of food safety legislation.

Mary Smith

Director of Education, Communities and Economy, Midlothian Council