TWO of the worst performing councils for food hygiene received an increase in complaints last year.
Adur and Worthing councils, which operate as a joint local authority, received 151 complaints about unsatisfactory hygiene and foodstuffs across its district in 2013/14 – including mouldy and decomposed food, contaminated food and out-of-date produce.
The authority’s own report also revealed the councils received 116 confirmed cases of the Campylobacter bacteria, which is associated with the consumption of undercooked poultry or cross-contamination from raw poultry to ready-to-eat foods.
Inspections of soda water from pubs also found two venues were serving unsatisfactory drinks which required further investigation.
Worthing Borough Council, which ranked 348 out of 395 in a Which? table of authorities’ performances for food hygiene in January, also dealt with two incidents involving illegal shellfish.
In the first a boat carrying oysters that had been harvested from unclassified waters was told to dump its cargo. The other involved a boat carrying scallops harvested from an area in the English Channel containing marine biotoxin.
The boat was told not to land but continued to Devon, where the scallops were seized by Environmental Health officers.
A spokeswoman from Adur and Worthing Councils said: “Our environmental health officers work hard to improve food hygiene standards across both Adur and Worthing.
“This is acknowledged in our Food Safety Service Plan for 2014/15 where we report the number of revisits carried out after the first inspection and also the number of written warnings given.
“With regard to Campylobacter, the number may seem high to a person not conversant with the bacteria.
“But in reality, the number is not that high for an area the size of Adur and Worthing, and is in line with the national average.
“The vast majority of cases occur in a domestic situation over which we have no control.”
The number of food hygiene complaints about the condition of premises also increased in Brighton and Hove for the third year in a row by 25% to 440.
A spokeswoman from Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Standards of food hygiene in the city are going up, with more food businesses than ever achieving the top five star rating and nearly 93% having three or more stars which is above the national average.
“Where poor hygiene has been found, publicity from prosecutions has raised public awareness of the ratings scheme and the work of the council’s food safety team.
“This has prompted more customers to contact us if they have complaints, which means our team can intervene earlier and more businesses are calling up for expert advice.
“All this is helping to raise standards.”