Hidden health dangers of online takeaway orders from ‘dark kitchens’ where cooks have no hygiene training – The Sun

HEALTH experts are warning of the hidden dangers of buying takeaways online that are being prepared in "dark kitchens" by cooks with no hygiene or allergy training.

Large-brand takeaway companies such as McDonald’s, Deliveroo and UberEATS have taken measures to ensure kitchens are complying with food hygiene standards and that food prepared in dodgy "dark kitchens" is not available through their apps.

But a new investigation shows some takeaways ordered online including through the Facebook Marketplace are being prepared in kitchens operated by people without training and with no allergen information.

Unknown food sellers are taking advantage of hungry diners ordering online and the surge in demand for home delivery, according to the Daily Mail.

Some businesses –  a world away from popular brands and revered independent restaurants – are peddling tainted food through social media such as Facebook Marketplace.

These rogue kitchens are alleged to be run from industrial estates without a restaurant or outlet attached to the premises.

It could have a detrimental effect on people ordering their takeaway on their phone app – with the value of the delivered food industry estimated at a whopping £6.2billion in the UK alone.

As such the Food Standards Agency (FSA) claim 2.4 million people fall ill from eating tainted food.

It said that of 380,000 food-borne illnesses, nearly two thirds are linked to takeaways.

The FSA has put Facebook on notice that it expects food sold through its services to be policed correctly.

Curries, pasta dishes and party food made in home kitchens are being sold without clear information or ingredients.

Just Eat is now displaying hygiene ratings and all new services must score three or above, while UberEats also displays ratings.

The FSA’s head of regulatory compliance, Michael Jackson, said the watchdog is speaking to Facebook about consumer protection.

He said: “Everyone involved in online marketplace selling must meet their responsibilities to ensure food is safe and what it says it is.

“Anyone selling food online on an organised basis must be registered as a food business with their local authority.

“Our advice when ordering food online is to check the business has a food hygiene rating and choose only a rating of three or above.”

The Mail reports that cuts in council funding mean standards and hygiene checks have been cut, with the number of council food standards staff falling by 45 per cent between 2012-13 and 2017-18.

And in 2017-2018, just 37 per cent of standards checks, designed to ensure food is what it says it is,  were carried out.

There was a 13 percent fall in the overall number of active hygiene inspectors.

Councillor Simon Blackburn, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: "Significant funding pressures make it extremely difficult for some councils to maintain previous levels of food work.

"There is a pressing need for Government to come up with a sustainable funding model for food regulation."

Facebook Marketplace allows users to post free advertisements to sell a range of goods.

Facebook said: "Sellers must comply with all applicable laws and regulations."

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