18 restaurants score 0 out of 5 for food hygiene in Norfolk and Waveney, but how clean is your favourite?
- Credit: Archant © 2010
The places you eat your food at in Norfolk and Waveney are getting cleaner, but some have the lowest possible score for food hygiene.
Of the 8,700 restaurants, schools, takeaways and shops in Norfolk and Waveney inspected for food hygiene, 18 have been given zero out of five.
But two of those 18 said they were awaiting better scores following a re-inspection.
When this newspaper last looked at food hygiene ratings six months ago, 25 places in Norfolk and Waveney had the lowest score of zero.
The inspections, carried out by local councils, rate hygiene standards on a scale of one to five at anywhere serving food from care homes to canteens. A rating of zero means 'urgent improvement is necessary', but a rating of two or below means standards need to improve.
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The latest data from the Food Standards Agency website shows just three percent of premises in Norfolk and Waveney scored two or below, while 70pc scored the highest possible rating of five.
But there are big differences across the area, despite councils following the same guidelines.
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In South Norfolk, council inspectors have given the highest score to 85pc of places. In Norwich, that number is just 53pc.
The city has the lowest percentage in Norfolk and Waveney of premises with the highest score for food hygiene, with just over half given five out of five.
According to data taken from the Food Standards Agency website in December, the city has five places with the worst score of zero, but one of those five says it has been re-inspected and is awaiting a better score. Inspectors visited The Mulberry on Unthank Road at the end of October and gave it a zero rating. But the manager said the gastropub previously had a score of four and was only given the lower score because maintenance work was being carried out. She said they had already been re-inspected since October's visit and expected to return to a higher mark.
The October report, which has been published on the city council's website, said: 'There are major and widespread lapses in safe food handling practices and procedures. You must address all the contraventions as a matter of urgency as there are many that are critical to food safety.'
Inspectors said open packets of known allergens were stored among open packets of non-allergen foods.
Clean utensils were being stored in a dirty former mayonnaise tub and the extraction system was dripping with grease, inspectors reported.
At Eaton Spice on Eaton Street, the takeaway was given a zero score in July but the manager said they were hoping inspectors would visit again in January and give them a higher score.
He said the low score was because of problems with paperwork and labelling.
The city council report said: 'Food hygiene standards are poor'.
Inspectors said flies could seen in the premises, raw meat was not stored separately and vegetables were stood on top of raw meat.
They also said equipment that had been washed was still dirty and there was no soap or towel in the toilet.
At P J's retailers on Spencer Street in north city, inspectors said in March that food hygiene standards were 'generally satisfactory'.
But they gave them a zero score because they said there was 'evidence of some non-compliance with legal requirements'.
They said two packs of sliced ham were past the use-by date and the shop was 'in need of a deep clean'.
The store has not been formally re-inspected since, but council officers have visited.
Mobile caterers are also inspected by the council and Peter & Deb's Snack Bar was given a zero out of five rating in April because of 'major and widespread lapses in safe food handling practices and procedures'.
Inspectors said they found dirty floor, walls, ceiling, bench tops, fridge and sinks.
Meanwhile, on Aylsham Road at the Star Grill, food hygiene standards were 'less than satisfactory', according to inspectors in October who said there was no sanitiser on the site.
'Raw burgers were being stored above drinks in the glass door fridge,' they said.
The manager said he was now filling out forms to get a new inspection.
In Great Yarmouth, 618 places serving food have the top hygiene mark of five, that is 63pc.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council said the ratings helped diners make 'informed choices' about the places they eat out.
A spokesperson said: 'Great Yarmouth has additional challenges as a major coastal resort in that we have a significant number of seasonal, short-term businesses with a high turnover of owners.
'Nevertheless, the borough is seeing a sustained improvement year on year in the number of businesses in the lower rating categories. In respect of the minority of premises rated zero to two, the borough council works with owners to improve standards using a range of tools including enforcement, closure and prosecution where necessary.'
There are six places currently rated zero in the area.
The Barbeque House takeaway on King Street was rated in May as zero.
The Fresh Halal Meat Shop also on King Street was given the same rating in May.
The manager at the Spicy Papadum takeaway and restaurant on Tan Lane in Caister-On-Sea said they had been re-inspected with a rating of four following a previous rating of zero, but the Food Standards Agency website is yet to update with that rating.
The restaurant, which has a TripAdvisor certificate of excellence, was rated zero in December 2015.
Meanwhile, the owner of the Imperial Hotel at North Drive in Great Yarmouth, which also has a certificate of excellence, said he had quickly fixed all issues raised by inspectors in October when they gave them a zero rating.
Nick Mobbs questioned how inspectors could give them a rating of zero when they were previously rated five and had not changed anything since then.
'They didn't really like our paperwork,' he said.
The Top Gem takeaway on St Peters Road in Great Yarmouth was given a zero rating in May, while Trisha's Chippy in California was given a zero rating in August.
In King's Lynn and West Norfolk none of the 1,300 places inspected was given a zero rating. More than two thirds had the highest mark.
In Waveney 73pc of places inspected had full marks, while four had the lowest score.
One of those is the Mediterranean Kebab House, on High Street, Lowestoft, which was inspected in August, but is now under new management. The new manager said he was waiting to be inspected.
Meanwhile the New Shanghai takeaway on Love Road, Lowestoft is also rated zero for food hygiene as is the Mermaid Fish Bar on Earsham Street in Bungay and the Trowel and Hammer pub and bar on Pakefield Street in Lowestoft.
After South Norfolk, Broadland has the highest proportion of places serving food with top marks for hygiene.
The only premises with a zero rating is the Kings Arms Chinese and Thai on Panxworth Road in South Walsham.
The manager said they had improved since July's inspection and were awaiting a new visit. 'We are up to the standard,' she said.
In Breckland 70pc of places were rated five out of five and just one zero out of five.
The one that scored zero was Ming's Chinese Takeaway on High Street Attleborough which was inspected in August.
NORTH NORFOLK AND SOUTH NORFOLK
Diners here will be relieved that North and South Norfolk did not have any premises with the lowest score.
In North Norfolk 78pc had the top mark while South Norfolk had 85pc with five out of five.