UK Restaurants Still Failing Health Inspections

You might be forgiven for assuming that in an increasingly competitive market, restaurants and takeaway businesses should have really raised their standards over the years. We all have a better understanding of the importance of food hygiene than we did a few decades ago, so surely standards on the whole must have improved significantly?

This may be true overall, but in fact there are still many shocking examples of people failing to uphold basic UK health and safety regulations every week. It’s not just food hygiene issues and the spread of diseases that are a problem, either, as food waste and fat deposits which tend to build up in commercial kitchens can be a major fire risk. This highlights the need for regular kitchen extraction and equipment cleaning services from professional companies.

On top of this, however, a basic understanding of day-to-day cleaning requirements in any commercial kitchen seems to be worryingly rare. It’s not enough to rely solely on professional cleaning, as competency must be maintained at all times to ensure the safety of customers as well as the people working in these conditions.

The figures themselves are shocking when it comes to reports of businesses in the food sector failing their regular inspections. All in all, one in seven takeaway establishments in the UK has actually failed a food hygiene inspection, and one in 13 restaurants has done the same. These figures were released by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) just last month, looking at data from across the whole of the UK.

In some particularly bad areas, the failure rate for takeaways was as high as 50%. To fail an inspection, a business must be given a rating of two out of five or less. Analysis of the data has suggested that local authorities may be partly blamed for skewing the data, with some holding businesses to inconsistent targets and standards, some harsher or more lax than others. However, either way the average figures show an alarming number of restaurants are disappointing inspectors, and more importantly, putting customers’ health at risk.

Recent examples from around the country have shown that standards on the whole are not necessarily improving yet. In October 2016, a fast food restaurant owner in Leicester became the first person ever to be completely banned from operating a food business due to the shocking standards at his shop, Boston Chicken & Pizza. Earlier in the month, the directors of a hotel in Rugby were prosecuted over the appalling state of the establishment’s restaurant kitchen. In both of these cases, fines and court costs for the owners totalled almost £7,000.

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