Monday, 4 July 2011

Food hygiene to go - local companies clean up their act

Min Yi Che of the Lucky Inn Takeaway on
Noel Road, Skerton  - pleased with the new scheme
The launch of a national food hygiene inspection scheme in the district has seen more than 80 local food businesses clean up their act since coming into force in November last year.

The results have netted good scores for businesses such as Ali Baba Kebab Takeaway in North Road, Hodgson's Chippy (Prospect Street),  Shelleys, Shengs Chinese Takeaway and many others, but based on the scores published, there is still room for improvement from some of our local takeaways.

This national scheme, developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities, provides at-a-glance information on food hygiene standards to help people make informed choices about where to eat or shop for food.

Once local food outlets have been inspected by food safety officers, to check that hygiene standards meet legal requirements, they are given a rating from 0 to 5.
The owner is informed of how the rating was achieved, together with advice on what to do to improve the score if necessary.

Since being launched, more than 1,042 businesses, including hotels, restaurants, pubs and takeaways are now able to display their rating in the form of a window sticker and a certificate to display inside the premises.

The score remains in force until the next inspection.  Those that wish to make early improvements to raise their score, can apply for a re-inspection once they are confident they have complied with all the requirements.

A rescoring visit, like all inspections, can be made at any time without warning so it is possible for a score to stay the same or even reduce if problems are found.

“The scheme has proved to be a real incentive for many businesses to make improvements and reach and maintain a good level of compliance with legal requirements," says Lancaster City Council Food Safety Officer Julie Grieve. “All businesses should be capable of achieving a 5, irrespective of size or nature of business which in the long term will encourage more customers through their doors.”

Businesses rated 1 - indicating major improvement is required - include Delhicious and M T Belly in Lancaster and a number of Morecambe takeaways, including Bodrum, the Happy Palace, Pizza Cottage and Pizza King Express and Rehmans, both on Queen Street.

But one business which has seen its rating improve from 0 to 5 is the Lucky Inn Takeaway on Noel Road, Skerton, which has just had its inspection in the last fortnight.

“When my takeaway was visited by a food inspection officer three months ago, I was very new to the trade," explains Min Yi Che, owner of the business. "Although my premises were very clean, there were lots of things I needed to learn and do to ensure I met the relevant standards.

“At that time, I was given a score of 0 but using the help and advice given by the inspector and after attending a food hygiene course, my business was re-inspected and awarded a rating of 5.  I was really pleased and can now reassure customers that I intend to maintain high standards in order to retain the highest rating.”

• Scores for local food outlets are published nationally online at www.food.gov.uk/ratings or via the city council's website at www.lancaster.gov.uk/foodratings


Specific Searches: you can fine tune results to see who is scoring best (and worst)

• Lancaster Food Hygiene Ratings Search: http://ratings.food.gov.uk/AdvancedSearch.aspx?st=1&las=168


• Morecambe Food Hygiene Ratings Search: http://ratings.food.gov.uk/QuickSearch.aspx?q=Morecambe

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