Why is North Somerset struggling to score top marks in food hygiene?

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 February 2017

The food standards ratings include a wide range of businesses across North Somerset.

The food standards ratings include a wide range of businesses across North Somerset.

Archant

Almost a fifth of restaurants and eateries in North Somerset have failed to gain a top mark for their food hygiene standards.

Some 18 per cent of food premises in the district have been ranked as having a hygiene score of three out of five or less by North Somerset Council, which inspects businesses in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Although ratings of three are deemed to be ‘generally satisfactory’ by the FSA, this figure means North Somerset has the second highest percentage of premises with a score of three or less out of all local authorities in the South West.

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said 93 per cent of the district’s premises had a score of three or more, while 60 per cent of outlets had a score of five and 23 per cent had a mark of four.

The spokesman said: “A food hygiene rating of three is given where the business achieves the standards to be compliant and is generally satisfactory.

“Currently being developed is a ‘gain or retain’ option for broadly compliant businesses rated as three to request additional support in improving their procedures or paperwork to achieve an improved hygiene rating.

“Just seven per cent of premises are currently rated as non-compliant, which means they are rated two or below.

“Many of these businesses have failed to maintain a documented food safety plan which is an important part of managing a safe business. We support these with focused business support visits and advice or enforcement as appropriate.”

The ratings are given to establishments which serve food, such as restaurants, cafés and takeaways, alongside sites such hotels and residential homes and places selling food, like supermarkets and bakeries.

Inspections will measure how the food is handled, how the business manages food to ensure it is safe and the condition of the building in which it is served.

The council’s spokesman said the authority had allocated more resources in the past 12 months to food inspections.

The spokesman added: “We were recently audited by the Food Standards Agency who were extremely complimentary about the standard of work undertaken by our officers.

“They recognised the extra resources that have been put in (by the council), along with the support which is given to businesses to help them comply with the legislation.”

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