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Restaurants exposed under tough inspection rules

PUBLISHED: 17:48 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:53 07 September 2010

A ROW has erupted over the strict approach taken by food hygiene and standards inspectors after the majority of Muswell Hill restaurants failed their inspections. Inspection reports gained by the Ham&High show that only two of the 17 restaurants

Ben Bloom

A ROW has erupted over the strict approach taken by food hygiene and standards inspectors after the majority of Muswell Hill restaurants failed their inspections.

Inspection reports gained by the Ham&High show that only two of the 17 restaurants inspected in the area last year passed without problem.

Some restaurateurs have criticised the inspectors' rigid approach which include complaints about poor lighting and broken tiles.

But Muswell Hill councillor Jonathan Bloch said a rigorous view was necessary.

"The safety of the public is at stake," he said. "There is no reason why in 2010 they should find anything wrong with the restaurants in Muswell Hill.

"It is time that cafe and restaurant owners were more diligent in conforming to the regulations which have been put in place to protect the public.

"I think the restaurants are dragging their feet. Four years ago there were problems and now four years later only two of the restaurants have got totally clean inspections."

Inspectors found few cases of serious issues such as raw food being kept with ready-to-eat food and refrigeration temperatures set wrong.

But Cllr Bloch says picking up on more common problems is vital if standards are to be maintained.

"There are enough people complaining about problems with food in London for the inspectors to take a strict approach to their inspections," he said. "If you run a restaurant, even if it is small you have to run it properly and adhere to the rules.

"I think it has to be done this way particularly if the public is involved."

Such a sentiment is echoed by Georgios Elia, owner of Greek restaurant Troodos Taverna.

His restaurant passed its latest inspection without any legal changes needed but a recommendation for food handlers to undergo refresher food hygiene training every five years. "We're going for our refresher course next month," he said.

"The inspector told me that he was aware we knew what we were doing but for the law you need to have a refresher course.

"We have to do it so I have no problem with it at all.

"I've been here for 10 years and it's always been clean here. Everything is under control."

But Suzanne Culley, manager of Fun Yum cafe located in Priory Park, says the inspectors lack common sense.

Her restaurant got a slap on the wrist for having a broken hot water boiler, walls not being spotless, products needing to be better labelled and storage areas needing better lighting.

"They are so regimented but they should realise that not everything applies to every place," she said.

"We are a tiny cafe and there is one person here for most of the day but they want us to write down our cleaning schedule every day.

"We know what we have to do and they could see we do it properly but they have regimented rules that have to apply to everybody. If it is clearly a clean place that should be ok but they won't give you the full points if you don't have it all written down."

A Haringey Council spokeswoman said: "Our inspections are designed to ensure that food sold to the public is safe, hygienically handled and properly described. We work with businesses to help them meet the required levels, but make no apology about setting the high standards our residents expect."

RESULTS IN FULL

Ask restaurant had a problem with the waste pipe drainage while Dakke restaurant was told to separate raw and ready-to-eat foods, increase its pest proofing and develop a food safety management system.

Café Latte was found to have problems with sinks designated for different activities, raw meat stored next to ready-to-eat food, dirty cloths and sponges, limited chilled storage, haphazard storeroom storage, pest proofing, and a food safety management system.

Café Mosaic had a dirty floor, dirty extractor filters, broken doors to the chest cleaners and it was recommended to draw up a cleaning schedule.

Café on the Hill was told to keep its food safety management system updated, date code its food, not use sinks for the wrong purpose, increase pest proofing, screen a wash basin, and show staff its food safety policy.

Crocodile café was inspected twice. The first time it was told to ensure all sections of its 'Safer Food Better Business' records were kept up to date, date coding was used, food was covered, food temperature monitored, the can opener cleaned, and the broken sections of the kitchen floor fixed. On the second inspection the café was again told to ensure all sections of its 'Safer Food Better Business' records were kept up to date, the fridge and freezer temperatures were adjusted, and the missing floor tiles were replaced.

Fun Yum café was found to have no lighting storage, dirty storage walls, a lack of food labelling, and no working hot water boiler.

Jalaliah restaurant was told to monitor its food temperature, make sure cloths weren't used to cover food, and avoid storing raw meat with ice cream.

The Famous Royal Oak was recommended to ensure it had a documented food safety management system. The Troodos Taverna was recommended that food handlers undertake food hygiene training every five years.

The new Happy Swan was told clean its wall/floor junction and clean its freezer seals, and it was recommended to defrost the freezer, cover refrigerated food, and arrange for waste oil collection.

The Black Orchid was told to clean its dirty extractor and floor, and fix hand basin sealant, and recommended to defrost the freezer.

The Victoria Stakes was told to produce a documented food safety management system, operate a stock control system consistently, and fit insect proof screening.

Yien restaurant was told to complete its 'Safer Food Better Business' records, clean its taps, clean its hot plates and repair its storage ceiling. It was also recommended to keep training certificates, keep its waste transfer notes, and paint its ceiling.

Les Associes and Maynards Arms were found to have no problems.


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