Boston

Call for tougher action on careless and illegal businesses

A call for stricter action to be taken on business failings and illegal activity has been made by a new group on Boston’s council.

The Bostonian Independents Group, believes the authority should be stricter whenever business owners break the rules – including stripping the business of all hygiene ratings and even going so far as to shut businesses down completely.

Councillor Barrie Pierpoint, on behalf to the Bostonian Independents Group, said he felt previous results were ‘not good enough’.

He said there had been ‘lots of businesses’ in the past that have come through with issues including health and safety, fake cigarettes and food and drink problems.

The group gave a recent example where the owner of European Food and Wine, in High Street, was fined more than £10,000 and banned from operating as a food business for at least six months for selling out of date food.

In October 2017, it had been given a five-star rating.

“When people are selling things that are outdated and there’s a safety risk, a two month ban is not good enough. They should be closed down, people should be aware of it,” said councillor Pierpoint.

“We are saying people should be protected. The council should look after the interests of the Boston public.

“We don’t know what the long-term side effects could be from eating out of date food.”

In response to online comments that the business was still open, a spokesman for Boston Borough Council said the business had been taken over by a new operator.

They said prior to this, an inspection had taken place in May when the business had scored 0.

The authority then inspected the new business on October 1, 2018, and found the new owner had complied with all the legislation and scored a five under the food hygiene rating scheme.

They said the council could only change a rating following inspections – which are usually unannounced.

They said to shut down a business there had to be an ‘imminent risk to health’ and that in the example given the removal of the out of date stock had eliminated that risk.

“Any failure on the part of a food business to comply with food safety standards will be dealt with in accordance with the Council’s enforcement policy,” said the spokesman.

“This takes into account matters such as the seriousness of the offence, the level of risk posed by the offence, the previous record of the offender, whether the proposed action is in the public interest and the likelihood of obtaining a successful conviction.”

They said the Council strictly complied with the Food Law Code of Practice and was monitored regularly.

The Council had been successfully audited by the Food Standards Agency, they said.