ONLY a handful of more than 5,000 food establishments across the county have been told they need urgent improvements by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
According to the FSA, which inspect all organisations who deal with food – including schools, universities, distributors, cafes, restaurants, takeaways, guest houses, farmers and growers, mobile caterers and retailers – only 11 sites are not up to scratch and are deemed to need “urgent improvement”.
Under the so-called Scores on the Doors scheme, organisations are rated from zero – being the worst – to five, which is the highest rating.
The Scores on the Doors website has received more than 300,000 hits looking at businesses in the city.
Across the county the FSA oversee hygiene at more than 5,400 premises. It is also responsible for food safety, labelling and food law enforcement.
Hygiene inspections are carried out by local authorities on behalf of the FSA. The idea of the rating scheme is to help customers choose where to eat or shop by providing a score of hygiene standards at a premises.
It is not a legal requirement to display the results of the Scores on the Doors inspection at the premises but all ratings are published online at the Scores on the Doors webstie.
A food establishment with a zero rating does not need to close.
It must make urgent improvements to hygiene standards. The local authority food safety officer will use a number of enforcement tools as well as giving advice and guidance to make sure these improvements are made.
The food safety officer will tell the business how quickly these improvements must be made and this will depend on the type of issue that needs to be addressed They could stop part of a business’s operation or close it down if they find a business’s hygiene standards are very poor and there is an imminent risk to health, meaning food is not safe to eat.
A spokesman for the FSA said: “In November 2010 the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Food Hygiene Information scheme in Scotland was introduced and local authorities have been coming on board ever since.
“There are now 371 of the 374 local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (99 per cent) running the scheme.
“Two of the remaining three authorities are in the process of launching it.
“The scheme was introduced to allow consumers to make an informed choice by helping them choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving them information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, cafés, takeaways, hotels and food shops.
“The schemes also encourage businesses to improve hygiene standards.
“The overarching aim is to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness.”
For more information or to view FSA ratings go to food.gov.uk
THE FIVE-STAR RATING
THESE restaurants were among those given a five rating following the inspections:
- OXFORD: Wagamama; Yo! Sushi; Zizzi, Ask; Bella Italia; Giraffe; Jamie’s Italian; Nando’s; La Tasca, Malmaison; Pizza Express; Prezzo; The Big Bang; Gino’s spaghetti house; Chiang Mai Kitchen.
- BANBURY: Cori Italian Restaurant; Top Wok; Chens Cottage; Pizza Express; Gurkha Spice; Quisine; Thai Orchid.
- BICESTER: Amici; Copper Kitchen; Shakils; Denis; Jaflong; Pizza Express; Mehfil; Prezzo; Dean’s Diner; Nando’s; The Taj Mahal.
- WITNEY: Cafe Rouge; Frankie & Benny’s; Hacketts; Meze Cafe and Restaurant; Pizza Express; Suwanna Thai Cuisine; Shaan Restaurant.
- ABINGDON: Ask; Giraffe; Pizza Express; Zabb Thai.
- DIDCOT: Prezzo.
THE WAGGON AND HORSES - FIVE STARS
Kim Gresty of the Waggon and Horses pub
THE new owners of the Waggon and Horses, in Faringdon Road, Southmoor, have celebrated transforming the pub from a one rating to a five in less than five months.
When Paul and Kim Gresty took over the tenancy last October they closed the pub for a month for a £40,000 refurbishment.
Work included redecorating, replacing furniture and furnishings and deep cleaning the kitchen.
Mrs Gresty said the couple had put new procedures in place to ensure high hygiene standards were maintained.
She said: “We are very pleased to have received five stars from the Food Standards Agency for our kitchen standards.
“When we took the tenancy in October the pub had only one star and was very run down, so we are very proud of our achievement in such a short time.
“We have got a darts team, an Aunt Sally team and locals are coming back in. We are very pleased with the response.”
THE COPPER KITCHEN - FIVE STARS
Kush Salahu of The Copper Kitchen
Kush Sallahu, 32, who opened the 30-seater Copper Kitchen in December last year and scored five in the hygiene rating, said it was important to show people his restaurant was clean and that food was fresh and handled properly.
He said: “I think it (the rating) is important. It shows we keep food as fresh as we can, the place is tidy and safe for our customers to eat.”
The chef said food handling and hygiene was part of his training and he had completed courses before he opened his restaurant.
JAMAICAN SPICE - FIVE STARS
Jamaican Spice restaurant
Wayne Watt, owner of Jamaican Spice in Hollow Way, Cowley, turned around his zero rating to a five.
Last March the eaterie was rated zero following an inspection.
But it was re-inspected in March this year and is now deemed five for hygiene.
Mr Watt said: “To them, the shop needed a bit of a clean. I locked the shop for a couple of days and cleaned the kitchen from front to back. It is spotless now.
“Now I am trying to keep it that way.
“I don’t want to lose my rating.”
THE ZERO RATING
A STATEMENT from the city council says:
Being given a rating of ‘0’ means that a business has performed poorly and needs to make urgent improvement. The rating is based on three elements:
- How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored. Six rating from very bad – meaning almost total non-compliance with statutory obligations – to very good – meaning high standard of compliance with statutory obligations and industry codes of recommended practice.
- The condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities. Six rating from very bad – meaning almost total non-compliance with statutory obligations – to very good – meaning high standard of compliance with statutory obligations and industry codes of recommended practice.
- How the business manages what it does to make sure food is safe and so that the officer can be confident standards will be maintained in the future. Five ratings from high – good record of compliance – to no confidence – poor track record of compliance; little or no technical knowledge; little or no appreciation of hazards or quality control; no food safety management system.
A rating of ‘0’ does not necessarily mean a business has performed badly in all three of these areas.
Where poor standards are identified, businesses are subject to a range of enforcement measures to ensure hygiene standards are improved to a satisfactory level.
There are 11 ‘0’ rated businesses out of the 1,250 food businesses inspected. The Food Standards Agency said where it had carried out revisits, it had found improvements in standards.
- 0 – Urgent improvement necessary
- 1 – Major improvement necessary
- 2 – Improvement necessary
- 3 – Generally satisfactory
- 4 – Good
- 5 – Very good
ZERO RATED ESTABLISHMENTS
ZERO rated establishments around the county:
- Adams Guest House, Banbury Road, last inspected in March 2013. Adams Guest House declined to comment.
- Kebab Hut, 68 St Clement’s Street, Oxford, last inspected March 2014. Kebab Hut was unavailable for comment.
- Peri Peri Original, Cowley Road, inspected November 2013. Abdul Vahab, co-owner of Peri Peri Original in Cowley Road, which got a zero rating on its last inspection in November 2013, said he had taken over the business in January. He said: “We are doing our best to improve. We said we have done our best to get a rating of four or five. We are improving. It was really dirty when I took over. We put tiling on the wall. We put tiles there so you can easily clean it. The kitchen is much bigger than before.”
- Port Mahon Public House, St Clement's Street, Oxford, last inspected February 2014. Port Mahon was unavailable for comment.
- Sandhills Convenience Store, in Burdell Avenue, last inspected December 2013. Sandhills was unavailable for comment.
- The Oxford Food Centre, London Road, Headington, last inspected January 2013. The Oxford Food Centre was unavailable for comment.
- Imperial Chef, 5 Market Street, Chipping Norton, last inspected March 2014. Imperial Chef was unavailable for comment.
- Thame Tandoori, 19-20 High Street Thame, inspected June 2013. Thame Tandoori declined to comment.
- Henley Town Football Club, Mill Lane, Henley-on-Thames, last inspected March 2014. Henley Town Football Club were unavailable to comment.
VALE OF THE WHITE HORSE
- Milton United Football Club, Milton Hill, Steventon, last inspection November 2013. Milton United were unavailable to comment.
- The Blue Boar 1 Bath Street Abingdon Oxon, last inspected February 2014. The Blue Boar was unavailable to comment.