STAFFING cuts mean that not all food services are getting inspected against Food Standards Agency standards across food outlets in Wiltshire.

Despite reaching all high-risk food distributors in need to regular inspection such as restaurants and cafes, low risk food providers such as home bakers and bed and breakfasts, are being missed off inspection timetables.

There are over 1000 outstanding inspections due to take place which should have been completed by March 2018.

Since 2010, 13 jobs roles have been slashed from the food and safety team which has reduced from 23 officers to just 10.

Carlton Brand, corporate director of adult care and public health, said: “We have calculated that to investigate all category D and E outlets we need five more officers. We are looking at the budget for next year to see if we can afford it, how we can do it and what are the risks if we do not.”

Wiltshire has over 5,500 food premises across the county and was described as a big player with one of the highest amounts compared to other local authorities, compared to the largest area, Cornwall that has 8,000 and the majority which have less than 1,000.

A recent inspection of two food chains at Warminster service stations saw the both rating plummet form five stars to just one.

Inspections made by Wiltshire Council at the EG Diner and Subway in Warminster service staiton on the Bath Road revealed major failings in hygienic food handling, the condition of cleanliness in the building and the management of food safety. The EG Diner has since been closed as part of a planned refurbishment at the services.

A review was presented to the Health Select Committee in preparation of an inspection of Wiltshire Council by the Food Standards Agency later this month where issues over the number of outstanding inspections of low risk premises is expected to be highlighted.

Presenting the report to the committee held on Tuesday (Sept 11) at County Hall in Trowbridge, Cllr Jerry Wickham said: “For premises in A to B (high risk) there is a programme there. It is D and E (low risk) where there are issues there, but there are contingencies to deal with that, whether that will be to the FSA satisfaction we will see. We want to illustrate to you that we are not hiding anything.”

John Carter Head of Public Protection stated in a report submitted to the Health select committee: “The FSA, being remote from the local authority setting, does not fully appreciate the broad range of other functions and services delivered by the council and seeks to impose a higher priority for food work than is reasonably deliverable in the context of a unitary authority.”

A further report will be brought before the Wiltshire Council select committee in six months to track the team’s progress.