Calderdale food businesses who commit food hygiene offences now have the opportunity to attend hygiene awareness courses to help them to improve.
This innovative scheme allows offending businesses, who may formerly have faced prosecution, the alternative option of attending Calderdale Council’s Food Hygiene and Safety Awareness Course, to educate them in the importance of hygiene standards.
The three hour course costs £160 and addresses issues such as stock control, date marking, cross contamination, hygiene standards and the importance of documentation. The course is offered in addition to a caution, but if the offer is rejected or the business fails to attend, prosecution is still considered.
The course option is only offered for offences that do not pose a direct risk to public safety and only once every three to five years. If a business reoffends within this time, the attendance at the course could be referred to as a bad character reference in any resulting court proceedings.
Any serious breaches in food hygiene will still be dealt with in the normal way, either by serving a legal notice, prosecution, or in extreme cases closure of the business.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Cllr Barry Collins, said:
“We always take breaches in hygiene standards very seriously, but we’ve identified that prosecution isn’t necessarily always the best way to deal with some of the more minor hygiene offences we encounter.
“Sometimes businesses simply need a steer in the right direction. For these businesses we’ve put together this innovative awareness programme, helping businesses understand the importance of hygiene standards and educating them in the risks that poor hygiene can pose to customers.
“Feedback so far has been really positive. We’ve already had interest from other West Yorkshire local authorities and even from the Food Standards Agency, who discussed the programme nationally.”