The city’s most unhygienic food businesses can today be revealed by the YEP.
Across Leeds, there are 28 premises - including restaurants, takeaways and shops - currently rated as ‘zero’ by Leeds City Council environmental health inspectors.
The rating - from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) - means ‘urgent improvement’ is needed to meet safe hygiene standards after an inspection examined the handling of food, condition of the building and how the business is managed.
Food businesses are inspected every six months, or more if required, and as of this week, seven restaurants were among those rated with the lowest score.
In the city centre, these included Peachy Keens Indian buffet restaurant at the Electric Press, from an inspection in June, and Miah’s Kitchen on York Place, which was inspected in May.
The ratings mean the businesses will become the focus of Leeds City Council’s inspectors to make sure standards are improved.
No-one at Peachy Keens or Miah’s Kitchen wished to comment.
The FSA scale goes from zero to five, with those achieving a grade of five judged to be the safest, cleanest and best.
In Leeds, 164 premises are currently rated as ‘one’ - meaning ‘major improvement’ is necessary - 69 of these are takeaways and 34 are restaurants.
Among the grade one-rated restaurants are the newly-opened Boss Burgers in Chapel Allerton, which was inspected last week (September 8), and The Greedy Pig on North Street, Leeds, which was last inspected in March this year.
Adam Ketteringham, director of Boss Burgers, said they are in the process of appealing the rating and said the restaurant uses the same procedures as their two other restaurants in Harrogate and Headingley, both of which have five-star ratings.
He said: “We do not agree with their decision at all. Our two other sites have five-star ratings using the same procedures. There are some inconsistencies regarding the inspection from the local authority.”
Joanna Myers, owner of The Greedy Pig, said theirs is a clean restaurant, with ingredients bought in fresh every day but that it was their paperwork - of readings such as fridge and oven temperatures - which had let them down.
She said: “We were short staffed and some things slipped and one of those was recordings. We know that we were wrong but it has been rectified. They are giving us a few months to show that we have kept on with it before they come back and re-assess.”
The majority of food-related businesses in Leeds, however, are currently rated as top of the scale at level five - meaning their food hygiene is ‘very good’.
Across the city, 2,674 presmises meet these top standards, including 278 takeaways and 634 restaurants.
A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “Our environmental health officers are your eyes and ears behind the scenes, regularly inspecting kitchens, so you can look before you book.
“For any food business it makes good business sense to keep premises clean and food management practices up to scratch – people are going to want to go to places with higher standards.
“Environmental health officers can offer businesses their wealth of experience and expertise on all aspects of food safety to keep them on the right side of the law while keeping diners and shoppers safe.
“Our team will focus on the non-compliant businesses that fall below required standards and receive a low score. Consumers can rest assured that enforcement action is taken where needed to protect the public and ensure food businesses comply with the law. Ultimately we can and will close premises, but we’d much rather food business operators work with us to drive up standards.”
A spokeswoman from the Food Standards Agency said: “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme tells people about the hygiene standards in food outlets at the time they are inspected by local authorities. This is important because it allows them to choose those businesses that have a good hygiene rating and avoid those that don’t meet the grade.
“It’s easy to find the latest ratings which are available online and via your smartphone, it hardly takes a minute to check. We do encourage food businesses to display their ratings at their premises and use them in advertising. In fact, those with higher ratings say it’s good for business. Over 90% of food businesses have a rating of 3 or better so there are plenty to choose from.”
**The figures and ratings are based the inspections which curently appear on the FSA website and are accurate at the time of writing.
The ratings are regularly updated and many businesses may currently be waiting for repeat visits from council inspectors. We will published updated stories on establishments with a zero- or one-rating inspection every few months.