Some of Kingston students’ favourite restaurants and takeaways have been slated over their food hygiene by watchdogs.
Nearly 100 Kingston stores have needed to make “urgent” or “major improvements” according to the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme which names and shames outlets that fail to have satisfactory food hygiene.
The official ratings revealed that 12 of Kingston’s food outlets, including Red Planet Pizza and Republic on Old London Road, Duke of York on Victoria Road, Spicy Island on Burlington Road and Dallas Chicken & Ribs on Clarence Street, scored the worst rating of zero in the last year which means “urgent improvement [is] necessary”.
Kingston Council’s environmental health officer Helga Jackson said: “A lot of our food businesses obviously take food hygiene very seriously.
“But ideally we’d like all of our premises to be at the top.”
Take action to protect consumers
Under the scheme outlets are assessed on a range of criteria such as preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage of food, as well as effective pest control, waste disposal and food safety management.
After a store receives a low rating they are given advice for improvements and are usually revisited in the next couple of days to see what changes they have made.
Ms Jackson said: “We like to make sure they’re actually capable of carrying out the right actions and doing everything properly before we can re-rate them.”
Although low ratings do not mean automatic closure, if the inspector finds that a business’s hygiene standards are so poor that the food is not safe to eat, the officer must take action to protect consumers.
Last month the owner of Jin Mi, a New Malden sushi store on Kingston Road, was fined £4,000 for eight food hygiene offences including failing to control the risk of E.coli contamination by letting customers use the same implements to serve themselves raw and cooked meats, failing to keep the store and equipment clean and lack of handwashing facilities for staff.
Kingston Council had issued owner Sooryun Kim with a warning to improve hygiene in 2010, having reported problems since 2006. But on three separate inspections last year she allowed standards to slip, Richmond Magistrates heard.
Red Planet Pizza revisited
Food hygiene in Kingston is generally good with 530 of the 1,068 food outlets currently boasting five-star ratings, including Kingston University’s Subway, The Food Store and The Den.
Popular student hangouts such as Chic-o-Land, Italian Taste, Kokoro and Kingston Mill also received top marks in the nationwide scheme.
Many of those with low ratings have already requested revisits from the inspectors including Karenna Café, Red Planet Pizza and the Duke of York.
Red Planet Pizza manager Hari Ran said: “Everything is fine now. We had some work we needed to do so the builders came and did it.”
Duke of York manager Brendan Connelly said: “The reason we got zero was the possibility of cross contamination as we did not have a separate room to carry out this work.
“We have since spent £7,000 converting the old storage room into a preparation room.” Yakup Tezgel manager of Karenna Café said: “We have done all the changes she advised us to do.“
Republic manager Robert Michaok said: “It was just a bad time. Whatever the hygiene inspector picked up has already been dealt with.”
Dallas Chicken and Ribs, Priya Indian Restaurant, Spicy Island and Café Green were all unavailable to comment on the matter.
All of the ratings shown were accurate at time of print.
To check the hygiene ratings of all local restaurants, takeaways and all other food outlets visit the FSA website.