FOOD inspectors are concerned that businesses might turn off their fridges in a bid to save money on energy bills.
The Shared Regulatory Service (SRS), which provides regulatory services for Cardiff Council, the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Bridgend County Borough Council, raised their fears at a meeting on Tuesday, September 27.
With the cost of living crisis putting households and businesses across the country under huge financial pressure, the SRS said they are receiving intelligence that turning off fridges will be a way that some establishments might look to save money.
Speaking at the meeting on Tuesday, operational manager for commercial services at the SRS, Christina Hill, said the prospect is a “real worry” and that the consequences could pose a “serious risk to the consumer”.
“We are very much heightened at the moment on what we could face… officers need to be very aware.
“We are anticipating a rise in enforcement.”
Figures revealed at the meeting also showed that the SRS was a long way off its targets for carrying out food inspections at a number of businesses for the first few months of 2022.
Only 28 inspections were carried out at businesses that require a visit every 18 months in Cardiff during the first quarter of 2022-23. The number of inspections due was 1,357.
In the Vale of Glamorgan, only 2.15% of the inspections earmarked for businesses that require a visit every 18 months were carried out during the first quarter of 2022-23.
The SRS categorises high risk businesses that need an inspection from A to C – with A being the most at risk businesses, requiring a visit every six months.
Category B businesses require a visit every year and category C businesses require a visit every 18 months.
The lack of inspections carried out early on in the year has been put down to the SRS prioritising visits to category A and B businesses in order to address the backlog of inspections caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite the shortfall in staff as well, the SRS said they are confident that the work they are doing remains at a “really high standard”.
Ms Hill said:
“It is not a case of the staff not performing. We are on an uphill struggle before we start.”