OPINION: Dirty kitchens are putting restaurants on the pathway to trouble

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A raft of kitchen hygiene failures in Cambridgeshire serves as a warning for operators to clean up their act ahead of the Christmas season or risk falling foul of local food safety inspections, writes John Ellingham, director of Canopy UK.

In September this year the Food Standards Agency called for a number of Peterborough-based eateries to make urgent improvements on their hygiene.

As any well respected restaurant owner should know, hygiene should come above and beyond when catering to the public, but despite the vast array of restaurants and takeaways located in the area, even some of Peterborough’s most prestigious hotels gained zero stars, meaning “urgent improvements needed”, with an astonishing 64 establishments across the city gaining just one star, “meaning major improvements” were required.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile on a brighter note many businesses related to food preparation in the area were ranked above three stars, the disappointing levels of hygiene revealed has been a major blow for those who work locally in commercial kitchens, and experts have called upon consumers to be more vigilant this Christmas.

With so many of us already booked in at local eateries to enjoy festive meals over the next fortnight, the unfortunate fact is that many of these individuals don’t ‘look before they book’. In a survey by the Food Standards Agency 34% of people report that they’ve had a bad experience when eating out, with many suspecting they contracted food poisoning from a restaurant or takeaway.

Despite a staggering 51% of people saying they will be responsible for booking a meal for family or friends this Christmas, only 3% of people reported that they’d checked the hygiene standards of the restaurant.

Ensuring the kitchen is cleaned is not only a health and safety requirement, but it is essential to guarantee the highest standards for both customers and staff

It is important for restaurants to clean up their act. Ensuring that a commercial kitchen is cleaned is not only a health and safety requirement, but it is also essential to guarantee their business maintains the highest standards for both customers and staff.

As a destination for foodies, Peterborough has cemented itself on the UK map as one of the most diverse cities for independent restaurants specialising in culinary delights from all over the world including Italian, Thai, Malaysian, Polish, Turkish and most recently Russian cuisine, but as many of the UK’s towns and cities will be attempting to recover from the aftermath of these ratings it’s essential that clean up before the Christmas rush begins.

Christmas is well known in the commercial kitchen industry for its relentless busy schedules, causing a massive strain on the staff and the service they provide, but it’s imperative that kitchen hygiene remains a priority no matter the time of year.

John Ellingham is director of Canopy UK, a specialist provider of commercial kitchen ventilation systems.

Tags : Canopy UKfood hygieneFood Standards Agencykitchens
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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