Last updated: 02.09.11

Parents should 'force schools to improve food hygiene'

Welsh parents should apply pressure to schools to make sure they improve their levels of food hygiene, experts have said.

Consumer Focus Wales made the comments after it was revealed that 48 places of education in the country fell below required levels in basic food safety standards. Tests carried out for the Food Standards Agency's Food Hygiene Rating Scheme noted how a variety of premises - from schools, colleges, nurseries and playgroups - scored either a two or below, meaning drastic action was needed.

Liz Withers, head of policy at Consumer Focus Wales, described the figures as "shocking", with a quarter of the premises being in the Cardiff area alone.

"Parents need to be aware of what the rating is for their child's school, college, nursery or playgroup," said Ms Withers.

She added that while the organisation is not calling for parents to stop allowing their children to have school meals and snacks while on the premises, they nevertheless should "put pressure on [such establishments] and the local authority to raise food safety standards".

Once they had seen the scores on the Food Standards Agency's website, the organisation advised consumers to apply for a Freedom of Information request to find out why their local authority had issued low scores. Councils would be required to respond by law.

BBC News reported that councils said they were working through the issues raised in the inspections and the data compiled by Consumer Focus Wales.

On Thursday (August 25th), a Cardiff takeaway at the centre of a latest outbreak of E coli which hospitalised seven people was allowed to reopen by food safety officers. Speaking to the South Wales Echo, the owners of Adonis Kebab House insisted that they had carried out all necessary checks.

"We don't know where it came from but, as far as we are concerned, the samples they took have come back negative," explained Aleksandra Ali, the wife of business owner Diar Wali Ali.