Poor food hygiene at popular Durham restaurants

By Alex Leggatt & Anna Tatham

Popular Durham food outlets Urban Oven, Subway and Mr. Shawarma have Food Hygiene Ratings below 3 out of 5, indicating “some improvement is necessary” with regards to their standards of food hygiene.

Mr. Shawarma, a kebab takeaway on North Road, was given a rating of 0, indicating “urgent improvement is required,” in September 2018.

Mr. Shawarma, a kebab takeaway on North Road, was given a rating of 0,

The ratings, which range from 5 (the highest rating) to 0 (the lowest rating), are described by the Food Standards Agency as “a snapshot of the standards of food hygiene found at the time of inspection.”

The inspection includes an appraisal of three elements: how hygienically the food is handled, the physical condition of the business, and the methods by which food is kept safe.

Food hygiene inspections are carried out according to the Environment, Health and Consumer Protection (EHCP) enforcement policy.

Urban Oven, a pizza delivery located on Claypath, was given a rating of 1 indicating “major improvement is necessary” on 15 August 2018.

The investigation gave the outlet an “improvement necessary” rating for the handling and cleanliness of facilities and building, and “major improvement necessary” for the management of food safety.

Food hygiene inspections are carried out according to the Environment, Health and Consumer Protection (EHCP) enforcement policy.

The current manager Anas Alazen told Palatinate that there had been a “change of ownership” recently, and the issues were present when they took over from the previous owners.

Mr. Alazen also said that “most of the issues were structural,” including “floor coming off in the kitchen” and problems relating to the suspended ceiling.

Mr. Alazen added that on the day of the inspection the “Safer Food, Better Business” pack, which provides information for small business regarding food hygiene, was not present. This was identified as a “major” point of concern, and Mr. Alazen believes that this was one of the main causes of the lower score.

“Inspections are usually carried out every 18 months, but we hope to get an inspection sooner due to the change of ownership. We are confident that we have resolved all of the issues that were here when we took over Urban Oven,” Alazen said.

“We are confident that we have resolved all of the issues that were here when we took over Urban Oven”

Anas Alazen, manager of Urban Oven

Other takeaways such as the sandwich shop Subway, located on North Road, were given a rating of 2 in June last year, indicating “improvement necessary.”

A spokesperson for Subway told Palatinate: “We have clear expectations and procedures in place to ensure that stores serve products that meet our food safety standards.

“Immediate action was taken to resolve all the issues identified and the store is looking forward to their next inspection.”

Restaurants such as the burger chain Fat Hippo (located on Saddler Street) has been given a rating of 3 out of 5, indicating “generally satisfactory” hygiene standards. The restaurant is currently waiting for a suitable time for a revisit from the Environment, Health and Consumer Protection service.

“Immediate action was taken to resolve all the issues identified and the store is looking forward to their next inspection.”

A spokesperson from Subway

A spokesperson for Fat Hippo said the grading was “due to some minor mismanagement from the previous head chef and a couple of outstanding maintenance issues not being reported.

“After having the kitchen floor repaired and a damaged filter replaced, I am confident we will regain the 5-star rating we had held for the previous two years.”

Mr. Shawarma has been contacted for comment.

Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

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