Cockroaches, mould and dead mice are not uncommon sights for health officials inspecting UK eateries, as data shows food hygiene standards are likelier to be lower in more deprived areas.
Atrocious conditions and low food hygiene ratings have been attributed to a backlog of inspections due to Covid, employers struggling to recruit workers after Brexit and the cost of living crisis.
A new report shows that takeaways in poorer parts of England are more likely to fall below hygiene standards, according to data from the Food Standards Agency
One in 16 takeaways across the UK fell below legally required standards at the beginning of December, The Guardian reported.
Food hygiene ratings are scored out of five, a business must score of three or higher to comply satisfactorily with food hygiene standards.
Some of the areas with the highest proportion of unhygienic takeaways include the Scottish Borders (32.5 per cent), Halton (20.6 per cent), Aberdeen City (19.9 per cent) and Enfield (18.4 per cent).
In some areas of the UK 20 per cent of the takeaways fail to meet food hygiene standards , a report suggests (pictured: a huge cockroach infestation at an Enfield takeaway)
Poorer parts of England were significantly more likely to have takeaways with failing food hygiene scores (Flies and mice droppings were found at an Indian restaurant in Hull)
Food hygiene ratings are scored out of five, a business must score of three or higher to comply satisfactorily with food hygiene standards (A Staffordshire pub was fined after food hygiene inspectors found a raft of mouldy food and unrefrigerated meat)
Analysis showed richer neighbourhoods in England had just one in 24 takeaways with poor food hygiene standards – compared to one in 10 in poorer neighbourhoods.
Nearly 16,700 food providers across the UK require improvements to their food hygiene, including almost 4,000 takeaways, 4,500 restaurants and 1,200 pubs.
Tottenham: Costa customer films ‘revolting’ flies and ants crawling over treats
In Tottenham a ‘shocked’ Costa customer saw what he claims was ‘revolting’ ants and flies crawling over their festive treats – only for staff to allegedly tell him the infestation ‘doesn’t bother’ other customers.
Daniel Renak, 34, had been craving something sweet after his lunch when he ventured into Costa Coffee on Fore Street in Tottenham last month.
But Mr Renak, an operations manager from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was ‘quickly put off’ after claiming to spot some of the chain’s festive range ‘crawling with ants’.
The concerned customer flagged the issue to a member of staff but says he was told ‘it doesn’t bother some of our customers’ and that the manager was already ‘aware’.
After suggesting the staff remove the food, he claims the baristas had ‘no intention’ of throwing it away and it remained on display for 25-30 minutes afterwards.
A Costa Coffee spokesman said: ‘At Costa Coffee we take food hygiene extremely seriously and incidents like these are unacceptable.
‘We have robust cleaning and hygiene procedures in place and our franchise partner, who owns and operates the store, have taken immediate action. We have responded to the customer to apologise for their experience.’
Ant attack: A customer claimed they saw ants and flies crawling over the festive treats in the Costa Coffee on Fore Street in Tottenham
Staffordshire: Mouldy food and unrefrigerated meat stored next to tools and paint
In 2022 in Staffordshire, a former pub boss was fined more than £3,000 after hygiene inspectors found mouldy food and unrefrigerated meat stored next to tools and paint.
When inspectors visited the George and Dragon in Alrewas, Staffordshire they found ‘extensive’ mould growing on meat pies and fisherman’s pie stored unrefrigerated on the floor of a dirty storeroom.
Richard Maley, 50, from Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan, was the director of the company running the pub and restaurant when the offences occurred in 2016.
He was fined £1,280 and ordered to pay £1,800 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge.
Maley is no longer associated with the restaurant which now has a five-star hygiene rating. He had been due to attend North Staffordshire Justice Centre in 2017 but failed to turn up.
In a Staffordshire pub, two uncovered homemade cooked meat pies were found, as were a tub of uncovered cooked chicken, ham-and-leek filling, a covered jug of gravy and a covered jug of diced sausage and bacon stored unrefrigerated next to a box of DIY waste on dirty stairs
Maley had been due to attend North Staffordshire Justice Centre in 2017, but failed to turn up
Grimsby: Filthy Chinese takeaway shut down by health inspectors for the SECOND time in four years
Stomach-churning pictures show inside a filthy Chinese takeaway that health inspectors shut down for the second time in four years.
Revolting images show the filthy kitchen covered in rat droppings and pools of vermin urine while meat was left defrosting in a sink and dumped in dirty washing-up bowls.
Owner Wen Yi Cao, 50, of Grimsby, admitted 13 severe food hygiene offences when he appeared at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court on July 15.
Council officials made the shocking discovery during a routine inspection of China House takeaway in Grimsby last November and temporarily closed it down, saying it posed an ‘imminent risk’ but it has since reopened.
Pictures released on Facebook by North East Lincolnshire Council on July 19, taken inside the eatery on Pasture Street, also show dirty cooking utensils, stained tea towels and mouldy food containers.
In January 2022, China House was re-inspected by council officers where it achieved a food hygiene rating of three, meaning it was ‘satisfactory’.
Customers trolled a Chinese takeaway for ‘putting the grim in Grimsby’ after health inspectors released stomach-churning pictures from inside.
Pictures from a Grimsby Chinese show disgustingly dirty containers and shelves, with one tub caked in old food
Stomach-churning images of China House takeaway in Grimsby, including extremely dirty fridges and buckets of uncovered sauce
Liverpool: 27 mice are found inside filthy Chinese restaurant
A pest control company found 27 mice inside a Chinese restaurant and their droppings all over the kitchen after a member of the public raised the alarm.
Health inspectors declared Chung Ku, in Liverpool, posed an ‘imminent risk to health’ after a visit to the restaurant in 2019.
A dead rodent was found on a counter used to prepare food and droppings were found on bags of sugar, the cookers and on shelving and it was given a food hygiene rating of zero.
After their visit the restaurant was closed voluntarily by its owner, Dove Ross-Williams, for two weeks, during which time a pest control company found an extensive rodent infestation.
The court was told inspectors revisited on August 28, 2019, where Chung Ku was given a new food hygiene rating of three.
In 2021 Ross-Williams was ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £3050.
A health inspector found a dead mouse in the kitchen at Chung Ku in Liverpool in 2019
Nearly 16,700 food providers across the UK require improvements to their food hygiene, (Food inspectors in Liverpool shut a takeaway for the second time in under a year after deeming it an ‘imminent risk of injury to health’)
Enfield: ‘Huge’ cockroach and rat infestation found at takeaway
An Enfield kebab shop was fined thousands after health officials discovered a cockroach and rat infestation.
A ‘huge population’ of cockroaches and their faeces were found at Ponders End Kebab in High Street during a visit in August 2020.
During a follow up inspection in 2021 Enfield Council’s food safety team found uncovered rat activity.
The shop’s director Kazim Recber, of Town Road in Edmonton, pleaded guilty to 15 offences at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on December 9, 2021.
The 42-year-old and the kebab shop’s limited company, EMB Catering, were told to pay a total of £4,241.12 in fines, legal fees and damages.
This was the second time in four years the takeaway was made to close, and the revolting pictures showed leftover food all over the premises
A 2020 survey of 2,000 adults by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) found 82 per cent of people would not consider buying food from a business with a score lower than three or four.
While popular takeaway delivery apps have been refusing to sell products from restaurants who receive a food hygiene score of zero.
Last year the FSA said the UK is facing ‘significant risks’ to its food standards after the impact of Brexit, Covid and the war in Ukraine in the last two years, according to a new report.
One main concern identified was the fall in the number of inspections of food businesses because of fewer resources being available to local authorities.
The other was the delay in establishing full UK imports controls for high-risk food from the EU, which could mean more unsafe products reaching the UK market.
Lumps of raw chicken were found defrosting in sinks that were surrounded by dirty cloths and grime in a Grimsby Chinese restaurant
Enfield had the second-lowest compliance rate in England and the council leader, Nesil Caliskan, told The Guardian the local authority would take appropriate action and prosecute when necessary.
Jesse Williams, the Food Standards Agency’s head of food hygiene ratings, told the news outlet: ‘All food businesses are able to achieve the top rating of “five – very good” by doing what is required by food law.’
The rating system in Scotland differs from the rest of the UK and gives food providers that do not meet the hygiene standards an ‘improvement required’ grade.
The FSA inspect food premises within a range of at least every six months to at least every five years.
Though they are only guideline frequencies and are varied where appropriate.