We live in a world of data overload; saturated in cyber-piffle. Freedom of information is an expectation in most states.
But whilst we are bombarded with useless chatter on social media about what people are doing and eating from minute to minute how is it we do not always have access to information gathered on our behalf and paid for by us? Information that would allow us to make informed decisions about where to eat for example.
The Scores on the Doors scheme operated by local authority Environmental Health Departments is not consistently used across the country nor is the data gathered consistently made available to those who need it – the public.
I am sure you will have noticed stickers in the window or door of your local cafes, restaurants and other food vendors. However did you know:
This excellent system used to cover food manufacturing units as well as retail – but no longer does.
That in many areas establishments who do not warrant 3 stars or more do not get a sticker to display.
The latter point is of most concerns as there is no easy way of telling whether the establishment is not run or maintained particularly well or simply has not yet been assessed.
Why would this be so important – well estimates from the Food Standards Agency suggest that there are in excess of 1.5 million case of what we might, in common speech, call food poisoning every year in the UK. More shocking is of these, annually, an estimated 500 people will go on to die as a result.
Now, whilst many of these are potentially “self-inflicted” it is highly likely that a good percentage are as a result of consuming food prepared by someone else like a retail, catering or manufacturing unit.
Surely the more information available to make an informed choice the better in this case!
How can it be right that it is still not mandatory to display the full range of star rating (zero to five) for food handling premises across the UK, even consistently across the EC?
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