The identification and the effective enforcement and control of the risks of foodborne illness in the micro owner/managed catering business sector

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Green, RM

The incidence of foodborne disease in England and Wales shows a continuous rise\ud throughout the latter part of the twentieth and early twenty first centuries despite regular\ud inspections by Environmental Health Officers (EHOs). In order to ameliorate this, the\ud concept of a risk based system of food safety management, HACCP, was introduced.\ud This thesis describes the research to determine the effectiveness of EHOs in identifying\ud and controlling the significant risks of foodborne disease in micro owner/managed\ud catering businesses (MO/MCBs) over a 14 year period which marked the transition from\ud prescriptive to risk based legislation. By deconstructing and itemising inspection reports\ud on 80 premises the EHOs' findings are collated and any trends revealed, thereby\ud quantitatively demonstrating the propensity of EHOs to identify these risks.\ud The MO/MCB perception of authority, in particular EHOs, is explored by a series of indepth\ud discussions with a focus group of 12 participants, taken from the original 80\ud businesses, thus exposing any cultural issues which relate to the effectiveness of\ud identifying and controlling risk.\ud The results show that significant risks are rarely identified by EHOs in food safety reports\ud prior to the introduction of the risk based legislation and that there is little change\ud afterwards, it further shows that a major factor is the unwillingness of the MO/MCBs to\ud confide in EHOs regarding food safety problems.\ud The findings of this research highlight a weakness in the concept of HACCP in this sector\ud in that MO/MCBs do not have the scientific expertise, and EHOs do not have sufficient\ud knowledge of the systems within the business, to comprehensively identify the significant\ud risks in the businesses.\ud This demonstrates the need for a cooperative rather than a confrontational approach to\ud enforcement in order to effectively identify and control the significant risks of foodborne\ud illness within the MO/MCB sector.\ud xvii
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