The Vectis Party, which hopes to win seats on the Isle of Wight Council in the scheduled May elections, has raised concerns over food hygiene standards in educational, health and care institutions on the Island. Official hygiene ratings, known as ‘the scores on the doors’, are awarded by officers from the Isle of Wight Council’s Environmental Health Department based on regular inspections.
A Vectis Party spokesman said that a search on the Isle of Wight Council’s website revealed that 34 organizations do not have a full 5-star official hygiene rating, with fifteen having 3 stars or fewer and 8 institutions having only 1 or 2 stars meaning improvements are needed. A 1-star rating means those improvements are major.
He said: “There is no excuse for any school on the Island to not handle food properly and all should be fully compliant with the regulations. The situation in care homes and health settings is no better. These are supposed to be places of recovery and rest and are home to some of our most vulnerable individuals. The people that have cared for us as we grew up deserve our best care as they grow old.
“Good food is a prerequisite for maintaining good health and yet here too many places are failing to maintain standards.”
He added: “The key point is that these are institutions. It is not like a café or restaurant where you can move on to the next outlet. These institutions are also either mainly or partially supported by the public purse, even if privately owned. They should all be able to maintain proper food hygiene standards. The fact that they do not is shocking.”
However, Councillor Gary Peace, cabinet member for community safety, hit back at the claims. He said: “The Isle of Wight Council works in partnership with providers to maintain standards across the Island. Where there are any concerns about quality and if a provider’s performance is assessed as unacceptable, formal action may be taken.
“Officers continue, alongside their additional Covid-19 restrictions and regulations, to pick up food safety issues or enforcement and while we are not currently undertaking routine visits due to the current pandemic, we will continue to act based on intelligence and complaints made. Should anyone have concerns around a specific business, please email those concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org
“We would add that a 3-star rating is considered satisfactory by the Food Standards Agency, with good overall practices for maintaining safety standards. To suggest that premises are non-compliant for not having anything other than a five rating is inaccurate and misleading.”