Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Village steps in to help Bishop's Hull butcher's
4:52pm Friday 7th September 2012 in News
A VILLAGE butcher has allayed customers’ fears he could be forced to shut after more than a quarter of a century.
Tim Pope’s rating from environmental health officers has plummeted from the top mark of five to zero in a year – even though he isn’t doing anything differently.
The downgrade follows the latest Food Standards Agency guidelines aimed at combating food poisoning.
Sue Watts, a customer at Bishop’s Hull Butchers, said: “We’re worried it could lead to complete closure.
“We’re all up in arms and there’s talk of organising a petition.
“Tim’s kitchen is cleaner than mine and it seems rules are being applied in a heavy-handed way on small retailers, while the big boys can afford to make the necessary changes.
“We’re all fearful of losing our only village shop, as we’ve a lot of young mums and elderly people in the village, with little or no transport.”
Mr Pope’s daughter, Tracey Doolan, said inspectors told him he was no longer allowed to prepare raw meat and ready-to-eat food in the same space.
She added: “His initial reaction was ‘I’m going to have to close’. Although it has been a nightmare, Taunton Deane Council, who told him he was the first butcher they inspected following the guidelines, have been very helpful.
“They’re working with him to make sure the shop is safe from e-coli.
“The shop premises are too small for a separate area to prepare raw meat and ready-to-eat food, but dad’s now kindly been given the use of another kitchen in the village.
“It stopped him selling ready-to-eat food for a while but the villagers then stepped in to help.”
A Taunton Deane Council spokeswoman said: “We’re unable to comment on individual cases due to privacy regulations.
“However, we work alongside businesses to ensure they run in a safe manner.
“We particularly recognise the important role played by small businesses in their community and will continue to work with them so the public can remain reassured standards are being met and the risk to public health is diminished.”