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The rogues gallery of food hygiene

The district’s 10 worst offenders for food standards breaches can today be revealed. We’re naming and shaming the restaurants, takeaways and pubs that scored lowest when council inspectors paid a visit. All 10 scored just one out of five overall when tested in areas such as hygiene, safety and confidence in management – a rating ruling them in need of “major improvement”. Put in context, more than 600 comfortably hit the five out of five rating. Our rogue’s gallery includes popular eateries serving favourites such as pizza, Indian and Chinese food. It identifies six in Canterbury and four in Herne Bay that fell well short of expectations. Some were inspected as far back as a year ago and have still failed to pull their socks up. Among restaurants in Canterbury, wincneap’s Jalsha and Sturry’s Spice Master both serving Indian cuisine – were rated ‘poor’ for food hygiene and safety. Spice Master, in Island Road, has since closed. Herne Bay’s Maharaja in Central Parade was also rated poor in the same category after an inspection in January. According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), a poor rating would involve “some major non-compliance with statutory obligations”. Typical breaches in this category might include issues with food storage and preparation.

Of Herne Bay’s takeaways, Family Pizza and Kebab in Sea Street was branded poor for its food hygiene. In Canterbury, Lotus House in Wincheap also ranked poor in this area, as did the New Inn pub in Havelock Street. All require more effort “to prevent a fall in standards”, according to the FSA’s criteria. Council inspectors also found “little”‘confidence in management’ at nine of the 10 businesses named today, with Canterbury’s Masala Gate fairing slightly better with a rating of “some”. According to inspectors, all nine displayed “poor appreciation of hazards and control measures” and had “no food safety management system” in place. Julie Oates, the council’s environmental protection manager, said all those scoring one out of five will have been revisited by officers since their initial inspection.

“Some will be awaiting re-inspection while some will have been re-inspected and remain on the same rating,”

she said. Ms Oates explained that officers worked closely with businesses with low ratings In order to advise them on making improvements. Typical infringements of the hygiene category might include failure to maintain fridge temperatures and failure to cover food properly, leading to a risk of cross-contamination.

“More often than not it’s a combination of things,”

she said. Canterbury City Council spokesman Rob Davies explained that the authority’s safety officers check that eateries are meeting legal requirements in three areas. They assess how hygienically the food is handled, specifically how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored. Officers will also check the condition of the structure of the buildings, including the layout, lighting and ventilation. Finally, the authority checks how
the businesses manage and record efforts to ensure food safety. Businesses receive a rating of between zero and five and are advised on what should be done to improve. Canterbury City Council inspects more than 1,300 in Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay.

Herne Bay Gazette, March 19th 2015

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