Thursday, 15 May 2008

A four star business

The Health Warehouse has been awarded four stars for "Very Good Food Hygiene" by the Environmental Health Department, as part of the Tees Valley Food Hygiene Awards. This was our first inspection since the scheme was launched.

We are inspected, without notice, every 18 months or so. An Environmental Health Officer inspects the premises, observes our food production methods and inspects our paperwork. The latter is very important, as it ensures that everything we produce has a detailed history from raw ingredients, through the baking process, to storage and sale. Emma Wall, who has worked for me since she was a 16 year old Saturday girl many years ago, is in charge of the bakery and is extremely conscientious and hard working. If only I'd put a new light bulb on the first floor landing and mended the flickering fly zapper we might have got five stars.

You can see the results for every business in Darlington by following the link above. Unfortunately, there is no discernible order in the list, so you might have to scroll down a long way to find the place you're looking for. One thing you might notice is how many Indian and Chinese Takeaways have just one or two stars. Yet there is no excuse for this: the Government produces a DVD for all businesses in dozens of languages, explaining what needs to be done. The paperwork isn't onerous, it just requires a bit of training and thought to get it set up right in the first place.
I have been dealing with our Environmental Health Department for 23 years now. They have a policy of advice and encouragement rather than wielding the big stick. They are always helpful and understanding and do a very good job, so I'm obviously very pleased that the Council's plans for cuts in this Department in its original budget were recinded.

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