Food & Drink

Poor hygiene at hundreds of London takeaways putting punters health at risk

Carolina Herranz-Car
Friday 17 January 2020, 11.00

Almost a thousand London takeaways are putting people’s health at risk, recent Food Standards Agency (FSA) figures show. 

Scores compiled from the FSA website unveiled 952 takeaways in London failed to meet adequate hygiene standards by scoring ratings of 0 to 2. 

Ratings of 0 are given to food places that are putting people’s health at ‘immediate risk’, ratings of 1 require ‘major improvements’ and ratings of 2 require a ‘prompt change’.

FSA head of compliance & standards unit Catriona Stewart said: “The food hygiene rating scheme helps consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by providing information about the hygiene standards in food outlets.”

The scheme is operated by local authorities and scores takeaways, restaurants, food shops and cafes based on hygienic food handling, food safety management and the physical condition of the premises and facilities.

Ms Stewart said: “If you want to be sure that you’re buying food from a business with good hygiene, always choose those with a high rating.

“The ratings can be found online and on stickers which are displayed at business premises.”

Growing concern over food delivery sites not vetting their listed takeaways led comedian Joe Lycett to prank Uber Eats last year by setting up a takeaway in a skip which the company added to its website. 

Uber now lists takeaways with hygiene ratings of 2 and above, and includes their ratings on its app and website, but these can only be found in small text by scrolling to the bottom of a selected menu.

An Uber Eats spokeswoman said: “We are committed to helping consumers make informed choices about the food they are ordering.

“We will continue to work closely with the FSA to drive up standards across the industry.”

FSA data revealed Ealing is home to the highest proportion of London’s ‘dirtiest’ takeaways, with more than 28 percent of its fast-food restaurants scoring ratings of 0 to 2. 

Caribbean takeaway Calabash Cays based in West Ealing scored a 0 rating last March after mouse droppings in multiple spots throughout the kitchen, including on saucepan lids and in a box of cutlery were found last March – the takeaway now scores a 4. 

An Ealing Council spokesperson said: “Those who persistently fail to operate safely and who are putting the public at risk face tough action from us and we will not hesitate to give a low rating if it is justified.”

“Our advice is to always check the rating before buying food from any business, and if a business is not displaying its window sticker, to be curious about why that might be.”

Ealing Council was the first authority in the country to introduce a ‘Food Safety REHAB’ scheme for food outlets that do not meet food hygiene requirements.

Businesses are invited to a food safety course at the University of West London and then revisited by an inspector. 

FSA data showed great disparages between boroughs with Kensington and Chelsea scoring the lowest for 0 to 2 takeaways at 3.38%, but a short walk to Westminster would more than triple your chances of running into a 0 to 2 rated takeaway.

The best-rated place to get a takeaway is The City of London, with almost 74% of its 338 takeaways sweeping up a 5 star rating. 

Check your local takeaway hygiene rating on the Food Standards Agency website here:

Related Articles