Britain could be facing a “food poisoning time bomb”, according to a new report that claims food manufacturers are slashing spending on hygiene and safety training.

Food manufacturers have cut investment on staff training in food safety, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) found after surveying 5,000 food safety trainers and training centres. News of the report was published in Cost Sector Catering today.

Around 50% of trainers said the present economic climate had forced manufacturers to cut back on staff training, leading the CIEH to describe the risk to consumers as “a food poisoning time bomb”.

“The economic downturn has meant many businesses have had to rein in spending, which is understandable," said CIEH policy chief Dave Kidney. "But quality training needs to be seen as an investment that protects your staff, your business and your company’s reputation.

He added: “A food poisoning outbreak can be the death knell for a food business.”

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