Blackburn with Darwen Council has almost cleared its post-coronavirus backlog of food safety inspections.

There is just one left to complete to catch up, a report by environment boss Cllr Jim Smith reveals.

The document reveals that 599 food safety inspections were undertaken in the 12 months to March 31, 2023.

The progress is noted in a executive decision approving the borough's Food Law Service Plan for 2023/24.

It says: "The frequency of inspection depends on the risk of the business causing food poisoning or selling food which is unsatisfactory in some other way.

"The risk is calculated using a formula in the Food Law code of practice which takes account, amongst other things, of the type of foods sold, suitability of food handling practices, state of repair and cleanliness of the premises and confidence in management in maintaining safe standards.

"The higher the risk the more often an inspection needs to be carried out.

"Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, for almost two years the food safety inspection programme was severely curtailed.

"This is because the staff normally employed to carry out food safety work were diverted to deal with Covid-19 control work.

"Additional temporary staff resources were recruited using the Covid Outbreak Management Fund support for local authorities.

"This has allowed significant numbers of food safety inspections to be carried out to catch up with the programme.

"In total 599 food safety inspections were carried out in the year.

"Only one inspection that was due was not carried out due to problems with accessing the business.

"In 2022/23 94.2 per cent of food businesses in Blackburn with Darwen were broadly compliant with food hygiene regulations (this is a score of three or above on the Food Standards Agency’s Food hygiene Rating Scheme).

"The current staffing resource is sufficient to deliver the work required."