Dairy products ‘safe despite its two-star hygiene rating’
GUERNSEY DAIRY says its products are still safe to consume, despite scoring just two stars out of five during its latest food hygiene inspection.
The rating puts the States-owned site in St Andrew’s in the bottom five of all food establishments inspected in the Bailiwick.
Guernsey Dairy general manager Andrew Tabel said it was safe to eat and drink the items coming from the site, which include milk, cheese and ice cream, despite the results of the annual inspection.
‘The recent food hygiene star rating awarded to Guernsey Dairy reflects the condition and fabric of the existing facilities and not the food safety or quality of any of the Dairy’s products, which remain of the highest standard,’ he said.
‘All products are rigorously tested against stringent industry standards. This starts with milk before it leaves the farm and at multiple stages during the production process and before it leaves the Dairy. Butter, cream, ice cream and cheese are similarly tested.’
While the inspection found that the food was handled hygienically, and that food safety management was generally satisfactory, the concerns centred around the cleanliness and condition of the facilities and building.
‘The current building and facilities were last subject to a major refurbishment more than 30 years ago, in 1989,’ Mr Tabel said.
‘Much of the building fabric and equipment is now reaching the end of its operational life and there are ongoing challenges in maintaining this ageing infrastructure and ensuring the continuity of supply of the highest quality fresh milk and other dairy products.’
Significant investment is being made as part of the Dairy’s long term business plan. Since 2016, more than £1m. has been spent on improvements and last year an additional £470,000 was spent on repairs and maintenance.
‘Options to modernise the Dairy are now being considered and the intention is to bring proposals to the States this year to ensure that it will continue to support the wider dairy farming industry delivering the environmental, social and cultural benefits in the long term in an effective and efficient manner,’ Mr Tabel said.
‘The project has looked at all options, from refurbishing and redeveloping the facilities on the current site to building a new, modern Dairy in a new location, or even a number of micro-dairies. The conclusions of that work will inform the proposals that go to the States in due course, which will include the anticipated costs.’
In December, the States’ Trading Supervisory Board stated that it hoped a report on moving the Dairy or creating new facilities would be brought to the States before the end of this political term. However, there are just three months – and four States meetings – left.