NORMALLY council hygiene inspectors carry out programmed checks at restaurants, takeaways, cafes, pubs, bakeries, markets, schools and care homes but they have been suspended in Swansea and Carmarthenshire.

It was emphasised that hygiene checks have been carried out at some of the new field hospitals built during the coronavirus pandemic.

Swansea has nearly 1,900 premises to check and Carmarthenshire more than 1,700.

They are checked at various intervals, depending on the level of risk.

But regulator the Foods Standards Agency has been issuing guidance to councils in recent weeks, resulting in a focus on “urgent reactive work”.

Swansea Council has not carried out programmed inspections since the lockdown, but it is answering queries from and giving advice to businesses.

Carmarthenshire Council said that “four official control inspections have been undertaken in relation to field hospitals”.

New overspill hospitals have been created at Carmarthen Leisure Centre, Llanelli Leisure Centre, Selwyn Samuel Centre and Parc y Scarlets.

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The majority of restaurants and pubs across the UK are closed, but many takeaways are busier than ever to cope with the increased demand for home deliveries.

A Carmarthenshire Council spokeswoman said the authority was responding to emergency food hygiene-related matters.

“All official control activity has currently been suspended in response to the coronavirus,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Food Standards Agency said it has advised local authorities to focus planned activities at the highest risk businesses, those that have poor standards, new businesses setting up and those carrying out new activities, such as a delivery service.

She added that councils would continue to undertake urgent reactive work, including responding to food incidents and investigating food-borne illness outbreaks.

“This also includes following up intelligence in response to the coronavirus outbreak,” she said.

The Welsh Local Government Association, which represents Wales’s 22 councils, said food hygiene checks were being carried out remotely, and that inspectors would attend premises where “a serious public health risk” was suspected.

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