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Has the BBC’s Food Inspectors given you food for thought?

Food fraud

If you have your dinner in front of the telly – you might not want to settle down tonight to the BBC’s documentary series Food Inspectors. Some of the viewing may turn your stomach…

In the third series of the show, the presenters have covered a wedding party plagued by Campylobacter, the cleanliness of our supermarkets and why we shouldn’t wash chickens.

This little clip will explain why:

Now, we have a natural interest in the show due to our Stop Food Fraud campaign. Our research found that only 56% of people say they’re confident that what they’re buying is exactly what is stated in the ingredients list. And 40% of lamb takeaways we tested contained other meats.

Episode 2 covered the issues of food fraud – the subject of our campaign – with an interview from Professor Chris Elliott – the man responsible for investigating the horsemeat scandal. The issue of fish fraud also came up:

Have you been watching BBC’s Food Inspectors? How has it affected your views on food labelling and hygiene?


I think it would be better for food inspectors to order that filthy premises are closed immediately. Once they are satisfied that cleaning and repairs have been carried out and the staff actually understand how to run the premises in a safe way, it can be reopened.

I will carry on washing raw chicken, but very carefully rather than in the absurd way shown in the video clip. I appreciate that the toxins produced by Campylobacter species will be destroyed by cooking but what about heat-stable toxins produced by other bacteria?

We haven’t watched the Food Inspector programmes – largely because a constant diet of Which? material gives us all we need to know about dodgy hygiene practices in the food industry. Moreover, I’m not sure that the “Watchdog” style of programme with its mixed-up editing and jokey presentation are consistent with the seriousness of the isuue, although it probably appeals to a wide audiece who might otherwise be unaware of what goes on.

Wavechange – how do you manage to insinuate italic script into your posts occasionally? Very useful in certain situations and much nicer than capital letters.

It is very sad that the BBC feels the need to use this presentation style. I did intend to watch the programme on iPlayer but skipped through parts of it.

Italics are produced using simple HTLM formatting. For italics, use i at the start and /i at the end. In both cases these need to be within angle brackets. I stopped using them for a time when Patrick warned us that we were causing a problem with the Latest Comments on the home page, but that seems to have been fixed.

I watched a programme this week where a frustrated hygiene inspector made repeated visits to a fast food outlet that kept failing to introduce corrective measures requested – no sink for washing hands that was separate from food, staff not sent on hygiene courses when requested, premises and utensils not disinfected, (staff who did not know what disinfectant was), etc. Neither the staff nor manager showed any enthusiasm for raising their standards. Assuming it was not staged you are left wondering why the premises was not closed until all their issues were addressed – then monitored to ensure it stayed safe.
Is there a legal problem with Councils not being able to close unsatisfactory restaurants, food shops and outlets? Or are they just unwilling to face that sanction. It seems to me by not so doing they are putting consumers at risk.

I agree Malcolm. This sort of programme makes me wonder if the aim is to show inspectors trying to help the owners of the premises to understand the problem and take appropriate action rather than appear heavy handed. I would support this approach in the case of minor problems, but I do not understand why the places we were shown were not immediately closed down to protect the public.

Most cases of food poisoning are simply unpleasant but some are much more serious.

renniemac says:
6 June 2014

The BBC clip was a bit over the top, the aggressive washing under a powerful tap is going to splash all over the place, I will continue to wash my chicken under the system I have always used which is a slow cold tap at an empty sink. if you are preparing chicken for tea then surely there are no lunch dishes in the vicinity, they have been washed and put away. if as the case shows in the clip these items are still out, then I’m sorry but anyone using these practices doesn’t really think about food hygiene. actually yeh! this may be shock and awe for people with bad practices. Also as I use a salad spinner my salad items are in fridge cooling. especially in hot weather what idiot would leave a salad out.
I think people have to be re- taught these basic food hygiene practices at school. I remember when I was at school some 40yrs ago our school had a house, we were taught how to clean correctly and about food preparation and hygiene, which I have never forgotten.
Maybe it’s time for schools to reintroduce this practice.

It is astonishing how often the media present information as if it is new.
All this has been known for such a long time.What is astonishing is that the general public still buy poor quality food.
It was possible to change people’s smoking habits, drinking and driving habits, but food quality (and the quantity some people eat) do not seem to be seen as dangerous, even life threatening . How strange when it is what keeps us alive !!