Seven Plymouth food businesses get zero rating for hygiene standards
SEVEN food-selling businesses in Plymouth were handed zero ratings for hygiene by inspectors who visited over the last year.
Almost 70 more have been given level 1 rating, meaning urgent improvement is necessary.
When inspectors called at the Saltram Club in March this year they found hot-holding equipment being used to reheat food and a safety cable to gas attached to pipework.
At the Cliff Edge Café, Plymstock in July last year inspectors found no hot water supply to any sinks; no food safety management system and the owner and staff members wearing flip flops in the kitchen.
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Five other Plymouth businesses also received zero ratings, but the details are sealed pending legal action.
Establishments in Plymouth
Establishments in Devon and Cornwall
According to the Food Standards Agency rating website public listings, business in Plymouth with a zero rating include Foods 4U, 79 North Hill (inspected November 2010) and The Sea Queen, 260 St Levan Road (inspected February 2012).
In the South Hams, the function room at the Rose and Crown in Yealmpton was given a zero rating in June 2011.
Establishments given a level 1 rating include a number of shops, hotels, take-aways, cafes, restaurants and a staff canteen.
Health inspectors uncovered a catalogue of kitchen catastrophes when they visited Devon and Cornwall’s eateries over the past year.
Reports obtained by the Western Morning News have revealed some of the region’s zero-rated establishments in food hygiene listings compiled by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) – and the reasons why.
Bosses at the Saltram Club say they have already taken action after the visit - including a deep clean - which they say has brought their rating up to a level four out of five.
Inspectors dished out the bottom scores to premises across the two counties after finding: mouldy kitchens; rotting food; raw and cooked food stored together; misleading claims about food sources; broken fridges and freezers; meat and poultry kept at the wrong temperature; unlit food preparation areas; and chefs not their washing hands.
Any business serving food in Devon and Cornwall is subject to unannounced inspections by council food safety officers, in which they are scored between zero and five.
The ratings system, in partnership with the FSA, sees those premises scoring five which are said to have “very good” food hygiene.
Zero-rated establishments are deemed as requiring “urgent improvement”, but do not pose “imminent” threat to public health.
Since the first inspections, nearly all of the zero-rated premises said they had made improvements, but these are yet to be reflected in their published scores.
The reports released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed many of the zero-rated businesses had failed to implement a compulsory food safety management system, and one agreed to shut its doors temporarily after an inspector visited.
Six of the ten zero-listed premises were in Torbay, which has more than 500 food-serving businesses in operation. Almost 200 of those have been awarded the highest rating of five.
A Torbay Council spokesman said: “If a business is given a low rating they are given a written report which explains how they were rated and what they need to do to improve. Many of these businesses will receive a follow up inspection and if works are not completed officers have a number of enforcement options that can be used to secure compliance.”
After a three-month ‘cooling-off’ period, businesses can request another visit in a bid to receive a higher rating.
The spokesman added: “We have not closed down any premises since the introduction of the rating scheme. However, we have closed food premises prior to the rating scheme if they present a health risk to the public.”
Hundreds of other premises across Devon and Cornwall were given a one-rating, meaning they needed “major improvement”. Common problems included poor cleanliness, out-of-date produce, foods stored at the wrong temperature, and raw meat stored above ready-to-eat foods.
Inspectors found evidence of rodent infestation at three establishments in Exeter, raw meats stored next to cream cakes at one Mid Devon pub, and a contaminated hot water supply at one South Devon School – the Dartmouth Academy Primary.
The FSA guidelines give local authorities the power to impose formal sanctions on businesses where necessary.
An FSA spokesperson said: “Where a food outlet is given a low rating of ‘0’ or ‘1’ following an inspection, this means the business must make urgent or major improvements to hygiene standards.
“The local authority food safety officer will use a number of formal legal actions as well as giving advice and guidance to make sure these improvements are made.
“If the officer thinks that food may not be safe to eat and there is an imminent risk to public health, they must take action and are likely to close the business down.”
Five other premises in Plymouth also received the lowest score, but the reports were exempt from release pending legal action.
Food hygiene ratings for premises in Devon and Cornwall are available at ratings.food.gov.uk
TEN FOOD HYGIENE SCORE-ZERO PLACES, AND WHAT THE INSPECTORS FOUND
The Exmoor Manor Hotel and Beggars Roost, Lynton North Devon.
Date visited: 28 March 2012
Inspectors found: Out-of-date foods; raw and cooked food storage problems; dirty and mouldy ice machine. They said a “deep clean” was required in several areas and food safety procedures needed implementing.
The hotel owner declined to comment, but another staff member who did not give his name said problems had all been “dealt with”.
Diing Tay, Hayle Cornwall
Date visited: 15 March 2012
Inspectors found: Food stored in the refrigerator measured at 21.3 Celsius; poor cleanliness in the kitchen and food preparation areas.
The Chinese restaurant and take-away agreed to close following inspector’s visit, due to the level of cleanliness and the lack of refrigeration on site. It was allowed to re-open a day later once necessary improvements were carried out to a satisfactory standard.
Manager David Wong admitted a fridge had broken, but said it had been quickly replaced. He said they had agreed to close for one night “to keep the inspectors happy”.
Golden Dragon, Paignton South Devon
Date visited: 23 April 2012
Inspectors found: Numerous problems, including: no documented food safety management system; whole premises found in a dirty condition, especially “filthy” ceilings and walls, wash basins and toilets; wall in rear of food preparation area covered in black mould with perished plaster and peeling paint; wash basin in cooking area full of dirty equipment; food inspectors not washing their hands in a “hygienic manner”; and insufficient lighting in rear area.
Owner Peng Wong said “all the cleaning jobs are done”. He promised an inspector had come “today” and said “everything is fine”.
Big Baguette, Torquay South Devon.
Date visited: 28 February 2012
Inspectors found: No documented food safety management system; poor cleaning standards throughout; no hot water supply in several areas including a hand wash basin; out-of-date foods; no stock rotation system; staff member not trained in food hygiene; structural defects including peeling paint on walls; no temperature monitoring.
Owner Robert Viney said the inspector had turned up when a refurbishment was being carried out and insisted they “could not have chosen a worse time to come”. He claimed previous inspections by visiting health officers had been much better, and the business was “a lovely place now”.
Churston Court Inn, Brixham South Devon.
Date visited: 14 December 2011
Inspectors found: Numerous problems including food safety procedures not being implemented; food unfit for human consumption; dirt accumulation on the ceiling including “spattered” food; overall cleaning standards poor; oil and grease build-up in ductwork presenting “serious fire safety risk”; walls with flaking paint and perished plaster; rusty freezer; cobwebs in veg store.
The owner declined to comment, but Jackie Tait chief accountant said thousands of pounds had been spent on improvements including a new system for waste disposal. She claimed an inspector had visited the previous day and was “really pleased”. She said: “We knew exactly what we had to do, and have now done everything they asked”.
The Manor Inn, Galmpton South Devon.
Date visited: 18 January 2012
Inspectors found: excessive mould build-up in beer cellar; dirt and cobwebs on kitchen ceiling; mouldy interior of ice machine; dirty dishwasher interior, microwave ovens and deep-fat fryers; bread stored on top of raw sausages; equipment sink “black with mould”.
Numerous items of unfit and out-of-date foods found in kitchen including: feta cheese expired three weeks ago; cottage pie with “strong spoilage odours”; “off-smelling” fish fillets; “unfit-smelling” chicken breasts; and “unfit” fresh herbs.
They said conditions on the initial inspection were “totally unacceptable” and “serious consideration has been given to proceeding directly to prosecution”.
The owner was unavailable to comment. Bar manager Karen Richards said the pub had been “very disappointed” with their food hygiene rating.
She said: “Huge improvements have been made since the inspection. We’ve appointed a new head chef and made several other changes.”
Banx Café Bar, Torquay South Devon.
Date visited: 24 April 2012
Inspectors found: a chef with no knowledge of temperature control; poor stock rotation; poor hand-washing procedures; absence of dedicated chopping board or separate gloves for raw meat handling; raw bacon stored next to cooked meat in fridge.
Misleading claims had been made on the main menu including: “local crab” found to be from Lancashire, and “homemade lasagne” found to be brought in premade.
A manager, who would only give her name as Vita, said: “We have sorted out almost everything.” She argued that nothing was “brought in ready-made”, and claimed that all homemade produce was “cooked in kitchen”.
Ocean Drive, Torquay South Devon.
Date visited: 22 March 2012
Inspectors found: no documented food safety management system; “unclear” system of stock rotation; sauces not refrigerated; rusty and damaged tray shelves of meat fridge; damaged floor tiles and missing wall tiles; base wood shelving permeable and damp; damaged doors to freezers.
Owner Maria Hamilton declined to comment.
The Saltram Club, Plymouth.
Date visited: 30 March 2012
Inspectors found: no documented food safety management system; hot-holding equipment being used to reheat food; safety cable to gas attached to pipework.
They instructed for a “deep clean” to be carried out in several areas including equipment and floors.
Owner Graham Traynor said they had made changes “straight away” after the initial inspection.
He claimed the premises now had a much improvement hygiene rating of four following a recent revisit by an inspector.
The Cliff Edge Café, Plymstock South Devon.
Date visited: 27 July 2011
Inspectors found: no hot water supply to any sinks; no food safety management system; owner and staff members “wearing flip flops” in the kitchen.
No-one from the premises could be contacted.