§ Mr. Eastham
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will introduce legislation to amend the Food Act 1984 so as to extend to hospitals and other National Health Service establishments the powers of entry of environmental health officers and their subsequent powers of enforcement in relation to breaches of food hygiene regulations.
§ Mr. John Patten
We have no plans to make an order under section 133 of the Food Act 1984 to provide that the Food Hygiene (General) Regulations 1970 should apply to National Health Service premises.
It is the Department's policy that the standards of food hygiene in hospitals should comply with those laid down in the regulations and that health authorities should provide open access to local authority environmental health officers to visit, inspect and report on catering departments and food handling areas. Departmental guidance to these authorities provides that the recommendations of the EHOs should immediately be considered for appropriate action. We are not aware of any evidence to suggest that these arrangements are not working well.