As long as two months ago the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched their well overdue “Scores on the Doors” online system, where local authorities can publish the hygiene checks done on premises licensed to serve or prepare food – quantified in a 0 to 5 rating system where 0 is very bad and 5 is remarkable.
Despite there being extensive coverage in the Spring/Summer last year by WalesOnline – who were criticising the agency for not releasing their findings, when it was eventually brought online the Welsh publications had completely forgotten and failed to cover the launch, from what I can find using Google. I spent a little time this afternoon browsing the ratings and came across some real shockers, some results that I didn’t expect and frustrations with the website itself.
The reports can be viewed by local authority, or a search done of the whole of the UK – for my purposes I just wanted to see Cardiff establishments. Once at that part of the site there is a very simple search box – and that it is. There is no option to view and filter the list of establishments – you can either view them all or search by name, town or postcode – which is very restrictive.
The site does, however, allow you to order the list by rating – which then exposes a list of all eateries by worst rated first – and this is where I discovered some unexpected results in Cardiff.
Bad results in Cardiff
The Plan, Morgan Arcade – 0/5
Woodville Fish Bar, Cathays – 0/5
Bar Sicilia, Cowbridge Rd East, 0/5
New York Deli, – 1/5
The Pot, Cathays – 1/5
Tony’s Fish Bar – 1/5
Juboraj Lakeside – 1/5
Quite why this website hasn’t had more press coverage is beyond me, since posting some of these results on Twitter this afternoon I have had some shocked replies – both at some well known venues receiving such bad food hygiene marks and at the fact that the site has not been publicised well enough – it should be used by anyone who is going to dine out as a matter of course, in my opinion, because we all have a right to know if the food that we are consuming is being prepared in an environment that is safe, clean and run responsibly.
Other countries, cities and states have had this a public system for many years and it it forces establishments to take food hygiene seriously – or else forfeit their business to low patronage. Food safety and hygiene is not something to be taken lightly because the spread of deadly diseases like e-coli and legionnaires is a serious subject.
Update: 29th July 2011 – Latest scores for establishments mentioned above
The Plan, Morgan Arcade – 4/5 (+4)
Woodville Fish Bar, Cathays – 1/5 (+1)
Bar Sicilia, Cowbridge Rd East – 0/5 (no updated rating)
New York Deli – 4/5 (+3)
The Pot, Cathays – 4/5 (+3)
Tony’s Fish Bar – 3/5 (+2)
Juboraj Lakeside – 1/5 (no updated rating)