Tower Hamlets and Hackney among worst boroughs for food hygiene

Tower Hamlets and Hackney are among the worst areas for Food Hygiene Ratings in London, a new study by GMB London region has revealed.

There were 358 food establishments in Tower Hamlets that have a rating of two or less, as well as 308 in Hackney, according to ratings produced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

This means that about one in eight premises selling food in the two boroughs require some sort of improvement.

The rating from best (5) to worst (0) is based on how hygienically food is handled, prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored, as well as the cleanliness of the premises and how the business monitors food safety.

Over 10% of establishments in London received a rating of two or lower, which means that 6,712 premises have failed inspections across the capital.

Food establishments, including restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, sandwich shops, supermarkets and delicatessens, are twice as likely to receive a poor rating in London than the rest of England.

Hackney and Tower Hamlets only had fewer poorly rated premises than Westminster (614), Ealing (414), Camden (404) and Newham (386). Croydon and Lewisham faired slightly better, registering 291 and 254 respectively.

Tower Hamlets had the most businesses (30) that received the lowest possible rating – requires urgent improvement –  compared with 21 in Croydon, 12 in Hackney and five in Lewisham.

It’s not just small businesses that are falling short on food hygiene. Household names featured among premises requiring improvement, including Costcutter, Iceland and Nisa in Hackney and Costcutter, KFC, Perfect Fried Chicken, Tesco, Waitrose and Wimpy in Tower Hamlets.

Lewisham’s worst rated well-known businesses were Chicken Cottage, McColls, Nisa, Costcutter, and Londis.

Croydon’s were Budgens, Crystal Palace Football Club (in-house catering), Londis, Poundland, Wimpy, Costcutter, Nisa, and South Norwood Conservative Club.

GMB London is calling for it to be made mandatory in England for Food Hygiene Ratings to be displayed by any premises that sells or provides food, which is already the case in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Warren Kenny, GMB London Secretary, said: “Consumers have an absolute right to know what score any outlet they may want to use has got.

“Making the display of hygiene ratings on the door compulsory in England would incentivise food outlets to improve or maintain high hygiene standards,” he said.

“This would reduce the risk of illness for customers, improve consumer confidence and save taxpayers’ money by reducing the need for, and cost of, enforcement action by councils. Everyone wins.”

Nina Purcell, of the FSA, said it was going to use the local data to “identify and target underperforming local authorities” so it they could “work with them to secure improvements or tackle any particular problems they may have”.

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