Kitchen overhaul for popular restaurant with zero hygiene rating

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: A Food Standards Agency rating certificate is pictured in the window of a restaurant on February 9, 2015 in London, England. Claims have been made that some restaurants are ignoring food hygiene standards ratings. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

The owner of a popular South Wales restaurant has promised to take a more active role in the kitchen and invested in new catering equipment after clocking up a zero hygiene rating.

The Stuffed Dormouse, in Caerleon, is known its exotic meat dishes and Sunday lunch, but scored the lowest figure possible when a food safety officer visited the premises at the start of last month.

The newly-published rating means that major improvements are necessary in the areas of food handling, cleanliness and condition of facilities and building, food safety management and system checks.

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But owner Simone Ansen said the restaurant had dropped from a hygiene rating of five because of “the cleanliness of our kitchen had temporarily dipped from our usual high standards.”

She told the South Wales Argus: “The employment of a new chef brought to my attention that there had been oversights and plans were immediately put in place for improvements before the inspection that occurred three days later.

“The relevant paperwork could not be located when the inspection was taking place, which was an oversight on my part. Since the inspection we have had thorough deep clean by a professional cleaning company, and we have updated some equipment, whilst continually improving our kitchen to comply with new regulations.”

Businesses must make urgent or major improvements to hygiene standards if they are given a zero hygiene rating.

The local authority food safety officer will use a number of enforcement tools as well as giving advice and guidance to make sure these improvements are made.

Ms Ansen added that she “accepted full responsibility” for the rating and added: “I have attended a level three food hygiene course, with a view to attending level four, so I can have a more inclusive and active role in the kitchen to ensure this does not happen again. Our new head chef has also refreshed his level three food hygiene course.

“He is working closely with environmental health, to ensure the kitchen is brought up to a standard to which we are accustomed.”

Business can ask the local authority to re-visit to get a new rating if the improvements to hygiene that the local authority food safety officer told the business about at the last inspection have been made.

Ms Ansen said that the restaurant intends to apply for another rating from Newport City Council’s environmental health team.

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