CATERING companies operating in and around Darlington have been urged to comply with national food safety guidance to prevent Ecoli outbreaks.

Darlington Borough Council’s environmental health team has contacted caterers, which includes restaurants, pubs making food on site, hotels, coffee shops, home and outdoor caterers, canteens and take away shops, to remind them to follow the Food Standards Agency’s guidance on the use of disinfectants when cleaning premises and equipment.

The environmental health team has provided caterers with a list of products that comply with the standards and will check for compliance with the guidance at routine food hygiene inspections.

Failure to comply with the guidance at a food hygiene inspection will affect a caterer’s food hygiene rating – a widely publicised rating made available to the public.

Chris McEwan, the council’s cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “The importance of complying with food hygiene safety guidance and legislation cannot be understated.

“Caterers preparing food for the public cannot afford to get it wrong – the public’s health and their business’ reputation is on the line.”

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council said the guidance was routine and not a reaction to any event.