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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 18:12 GMT
Council release food report order
Bridgend council
Bridgend council decided not to appeal against the order
Bridgend County Borough Council has released a food hygiene report into a local hotel.

The council initially refused to release inspections of the Heronston Hotel, despite an order from the watchdog the Information Commissioner.

But rather than appeal, the council disclosed a report with 19 contraventions of food hygiene regulations in October 2004.

An update a month later showed most contraventions had been put right.

The hotel said it had now corrected everything raised.

The tussle for the report to be released began in January 2005, when an unnamed person made a request to the council under the new Freedom of Information Act (FoI), asking for a copy of the last hygiene inspection for the Heronston Hotel.

The council refused, and after an appeal, the complainant took the case to the Information Commissioner.

Heronston Hotel
The hotel said it was fully compliant with food hygiene regulations

On 9 December, the commissioner ruled that the council should disclose the report, saying that a growing number of other councils routinely published food hygiene inspection reports on their websites after requests under the FoI act.

But by 23 December, the council were still not making the report available, saying they had serious concerns about how the decision would affect their duty to protect the public.

The council had 28 days to appeal against the order, but then released the report to the person who had first asked for it and sent it to the BBC on 10 January in response to a journalist's request.

The report from October 2004 at the Heronston Hotel showed 19 contraventions of food hygiene rules including dirt on shelving, flooring and on a can opener. A month later, another inspection found all but three had been put right.

The hotel's manager Carolyn Powell said all of those had now been addressed.

"If you go into any food premises, you will get a number of points where they (the inspectors) say 'you can improve on this,'" Ms Powell said.

"We were not classified as a high risk area," she added.

Food hygiene standards have been the subject of a number of other FoI requests to Bridgend council in recent months following the E.coli poisoning outbreak in south Wales which led to the death of a five-year-old boy and the infection of 157 other people.

The council has refused to release to the BBC details of food hygiene inspections at John Tudor and Son of Bridgend, the butcher at the centre of the E.coli investigations.

In response to those requests, the council claimed an exemption under the freedom of information legislation because of the ongoing criminal investigation following the death of five-year-old Mason Jones.

John Tudor and Son has now reopened and maintains no trace of E.coli has ever been found there.

Council refuses food report order
23 Dec 05 |  South East Wales

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