25th January 2017

Would You Trust A 1 Star Food Hygiene Rating?

A cafe in Kent is under fire after its head chef said that he “did not believe in five star ratings” and food hygiene ratings were “an excuse for boffins to get a job”. He had been contacted by a reporter from Kent Live News after the cafe received a one star rating at its latest inspection.

Without seeing the inspection report, it is difficult to ascertain the exact reason for the Belgian Cafe to be given a food hygiene rating of one. However, contrary to the head chefs claims, wear and tear and slippery stairs are unlikely to be solely responsible for such a low rating.

Whilst it is understandable to be defensive of your business and reputation, the comments of the head chef perhaps provide some clues as to part of the problem and reason for the low rating.

A third of the criteria during a food hygiene rating inspection is confidence in management, including whether there is an appropriate food safety management system and whether the system is likely to be implemented at local level. Officers however are also asked to take other factors into consideration, for example the track record of the company and its willingness to act on previous advice. Perhaps most significantly in this instance, officers are also asked to base judgement on “the attitude of the present management towards hygiene and food safety”.

The quotes reported from this head chef are unlikely to rate highly, create a good impression of attitude towards food safety, or gain a favourable confidence in management score.

We don’t know whether or not the chef’s dismissive attitude came across during the inspection and contributed to the low rating but it does illustrate the point that there should be some respect for the fact that food safety laws are there to protect public health. His comments do make a good case for the legal requirement for food hygiene training in order to provide awareness of its importance!


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