Editor: I am confused, bemused and just a little amused after having read The Guardian’s coverage on the Doctor’s Inn’s conflict with Environmental Health. As I understand the problem, Mr. Offer serves meals “on demand” in his home to eager epicureans, a service which he and his wife have delivered for some length of time. He used to run a bed and breakfast, with meals being prepared in the same kitchen. This spring, his wife got a phone call from Environmental Health saying they were in violation of proposed new regulations covering food preparation and service to the public. He was also told that, if he wanted to become a B&B again and serve meals to paying guests, these proposed new regulations wouldn’t apply.
Am I the only one to whom Environmental Health’s position seems somewhat inappropriate? What is going on here? Why do there seem to be two very different sets of rules governing food preparation and delivery for B&Bs and, presumably, unlicensed dining rooms? The spokesperson for Environmental Health quoted in The Guardian didn’t clarify this issue at all. Also, why is it imperative to close a small local business down because of presumed health risks to the public, but it’s OK to keep serving the same consumers until October?
If it’s a serious risk then, why isn’t it a serious risk now? I think someone from Environmental Health should be asked to explain why what they are doing in this case is in the best interests of the public they are being paid to serve.