Concerns about the standard of food inspections carried out in schools, residential homes and takeaways have been rebuffed.
Northumberland County Council was responding to Conservative group claims that it has failed to act on criticism of its work by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) last December.
A council spokesman said: “Following some claims about the standards of food inspection in Northumberland we want to reassure the public that they can be completely confident in the inspection regime across the county.
“In December 2012 the FSA issued a report that criticised aspects of our work in Northumberland. Since that time the council has worked hard to address these areas of concern.
“In addition to developing a comprehensive audit action plan, the detail of which has been agreed by the FSA and the majority of actions now implemented, the public protection service continues to proactively develop service improvements so residents can be confident about food safety.”
In 2012/13, officers undertook a total of 2,496 visits to food establishments, including programmed food hygiene inspections and food sampling visits.
Since the creation of the commercial food team in 2011, there are currently nine trained and qualified people working in food hygiene, an overall increase of two since 2011.
The council spokesman added: “Overall, we have a very good standard of food businesses within Northumberland, with 94% of those businesses that supply food direct to the consumer achieving a three, four or five star rating under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.
“This area of work continues to be a high priority for the council. We are confident that we will be able to deliver the inspection programme and associated activities for 2013/14.”
Councillor Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland Conservatives, had expressed concerns about inspection delays, record keeping and staffing levels, accusing the Labour administration of trying ‘to sweep the issue under the carpet’.
He said: “The council has had nearly a year in which to correct its deficient food inspection processes. It is only by luck that our county has been able to avoid having a serious food safety issue such as an outbreak of E.coli 157.”
However, Labour leader Grant Davey cricisised Conservative ‘scare-mongering’ and raised fears that local businesses could be affected.
He said: “The people of Northumberland will rightly expect that our food standards regime is working effectively which is why I was disturbed to read the comments.
“My worry is that this issue has been used to score cheap party political points and it has raised concerns that will alarm people across the county.”