Under new European food safety regulations every food outlet in the country will have to be licensed. From a personal standpoint this can only be good news for the public. For far too long various establishments ­ whether they are food shops, cafes or restaurants ­ have been getting away with murder. If Environmental Health Officers had been doing their job in the first place these new regulations would never have been necessary. The reason they have given for their downfall is the usual one ­ shortage of staff. But now more EHOs will need to be employed to provide the level of staff required to ensure all premises are licensed. And who will pay for them? In the first instance the ratepayer, subsequently the public. In the meantime we have to deal with the new EU directives, which, as we all know will be carried out more stringently in Britain than elsewhere in Europe. All I ask if we are going to achieve these new standards is that EHOs follow a little advice: 1) They produce a blueprint for each type of food outlet that is the same countrywide instead of the present system where one council's rules differ from another. 2) They forget political correctness' and target all creeds, colours and religions instead of targeting high profile operations in the hope that the ensuing publicity will deter others from breaking the hygiene laws. We all need to play on a level playing field. 3) They work with the food outlet instead of the antagonising ss' style raids that presently occur. They like the element of surprise in the hope of catching an establishment out. Surely it would be better to make appointments to build up a relationship between the parties. It doesn't matter whether it's on the farm, in the abattoir, at the supermarket, there is too much of them and us' attitude. This has got to stop, there's no reason it shouldn't. {{NEWS }}