During the first lockdown (March-May 2020) in the UK, a lot of people in the catering sector lost their job. Some of them decided to reinvent themself as home-made food business entrepreneurs. A report from Food Standards Agency (FSA) reveals that about 44% of all new food businesses opened during the lockdown period are home-based, and this could be a risk for people’s health.
Every new food business in the UK must be registered on a government site, then an inspector must visit the new business to check if all the sanitary measures are respected. However, during the first lockdown controls completely ceased, and after that they struggled to be completed. A lot of them are done using video-calls, but this method lacks accuracy. Aside from covid-related concerns, in-person inspections are problematic because you must advise the owner 24 hours before the control in a private building, losing the surprise-effect.
This lack of inspections could lead to health problems in the consumers: ingredients could be not properly stored, or they could come from uncertified sources (like a home garden); production, packaging, and delivery could be done incorrectly, and some kitchens may not have the equipment to separate possible allergenic ingredients from others. This problem could lead to contamination in every business’ food product and allergic problems in the consumers.
To tackle the problem, Julie Barratt, from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), stated that the law should be changed so that food businesses cannot sell any product until they have been inspected properly.