Shock over findings on food hygiene

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THE HYGIENE standards in hundreds of food establishments in Scarborough have been revealed.

The majority of the 365 venues inspected in the area came in the top two of six cleanliness categories.

However one, Mist bar in St Thomas Street, achieved a rating of zero out of five and was slammed by environmental health inspectors.

Inspector Jill Aislabie said the premises were “very dirty” with risks of contamination when she carried out her report in November last year.

Julie Hill, Scarborough Council’s senior environmental health officer, subsequently said the standards of cleanliness had been “totally unacceptable” and that a deep clean was “urgently needed”.

A further 27 venues were given ratings of one out of five and a further 17 were rated two out of five, meaning standards were seen to have fallen below legal requirements.

Tony Snow, landlord of Mist, said that the issues at the bar had been resolved immediately after the inspection.

Two days after the damning report, a follow-up at Mist bar found standards had improved significantly.

Steve Pogson, health and community safety manager at Scarborough Council, said the introduction of the new ratings system would drive up hygiene standards and inform the public.

“The rating reflects the score they were awarded at the time of a routine inspection,” Mr Pogson said.

“It gives the consumer an easy way of finding out what the standards are like in premises they like to eat in or buy food in.”

“As soon as we were told what our problems were we sorted them immediately,” Mr Snow added. “We do have a new report available for people to view at the bar.”

The zero rating will remain in place until inspectors visit the bar again and generate a new rating.

Business owners who are unhappy with their rating are able to appeal against it, are given a right to reply or can ask for a re-visit once improvements have been made.

The owners of all businesses who are included in the scheme were told that it was being adopted and were offered the chance to attend workshops.

Mr Pogson added: “It is about legal compliance with food safety legislation. If you have a low rating it is for a reason.

“There are benefits for the consumer and for businesses. If a business has a good rating it will reflect in sales.

“The vast majority are compliant and take their responsibilities very seriously.”

The results of a ratings system, which is a Food Standards Agency initiative that has been adopted by Scarborough Council, were published on the internet last week.

They are based on surprise inspections undertaken since July last year. Most food businesses that supply food directly to the consumer are included.

Inspectors rate venues on their compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures, their compliance with structural requirements and their confidence in management control and procedures.

Businesses are able to display a sticker indicating their rating if they wish.