Independent Stores Are 9 Times More Likely To Fail Food Safety Inspections Independent stores are few and far between in 2019. As huge conglomerates merge and monopolise the food, retail and service industry, you’d be forgiven for forgetting about the little man. But they’re still out there. They add character and life to cities and towns, they say no to the ‘man’ and support families, niche tastes and local people. So why are so many of them failing their food safety standards?
In a new study, Retail News analysed the food hygiene ratings of 173,907 businesses including 6,894 symbol group and unaffiliated convenience stores across the UK. From this selection of stores up and down the country, they identified that more than 5% of independent stores received a failing grade compared with 0.51% of multiples and 4% of food service providers such as restaurants, pubs and takeaways.
Law states that businesses in Wales and Northern Ireland are legally required to show their rating, however, in England, businesses do not have to display the rating they have been awarded. Which means that the lovely exterior of the restaurant or cornershop might contradict what’s going on in the kitchen or fridges out the back.
So what are the factors that lead to such low or high scores in a business? It’s also not just about the cleanliness of the business, both in the eating areas and the kitchen. There’s actually three different areas that the establishment is scored on. Hygiene, documentation and the condition of the building are the three areas which contribute to the overall score. So a business may believe that they’re achieving a high score by keeping their kitchen clean and tidy, when actually their lack of documentation or the way they keep their food stored might be letting them down.
The longest length of time before another inspection can take place is three years. This would be for a very low risk establishment where there isn’t any processing of raw cooked meat, for example a corner shop or newsagents. For restaurants, the regularity of inspection is a lot more stringent, somewhere around 18 months.
Annabel Kyle, Food Safety Manager for STS, explains why some establishments may not want to show off their scores:
“You might not want to display your score if you’ve got a poor rating, if it falls around the bottom end (0-3), as people may feel that this sends a bad impression. I think that’s probably the key motivation for not wanting to show it off. However, there are other factors as well. Some large brands don’t think that the branding of the food hygiene rating (green & black) matches their brand’s look. It might not meet the aesthetic that they’re going for, so they may have a policy not to display the rating. So it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story if it’s not displayed.” If you need to speak to a member of our team about improving your food safety score, contact us on: 08450 50 40 60