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Food safety scores in Bexley have transformed from the country’s worst to London’s best

PUBLISHED: 10:59 26 September 2017

Food hygiene rating levels should be displayed in all restaurants and takeaways.

Food hygiene rating levels should be displayed in all restaurants and takeaways.

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A report in 2014 found nearly half of restaurants were not complying with hygiene rules

A dramatic turnaround in the standards of the borough’s restaurants has put it top of London’s hygiene ratings.

In 2014, 43 per cent of businesses with a medium or high hygiene risk were failing to comply with food standards, the worst score in the country.

Three years on, a Which? report has praised the council’s food hygiene enforcement record, citing it as “the most improved authority in the country”.

The council achieved 100 per cent of planned interventions for at risk businesses and the same score for risk ratings, which involves regularly rating any food business’ hygiene standards.

It also achieved 90 per cent on compliance between council enforcement and business standards.

Mentioning the turnaround the report reads: “Bexley made changes following our previous findings, including increasing staffing levels and focusing on the poorest performing businesses.”

Bexley council said as well as the recruitment drive, it “significantly increased inspection, advice and enforcement action to raise standards by lower rated businesses.”

Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure, Cllr Peter Craske said: “Residents across Bexley can eat out with confidence because of the hard work of our food inspection team.

“This Which? report rightly recognises the importance of this issue. To be number one in London is testament both to our staff and the restaurants and cafes across Bexley who work to maintain very high standards.”

The report went on to say: “London boroughs overall appear to be struggling, possibly reflecting, as with other cities, the high turnover of businesses.”

Council officers visit around 1,000 food establishments every year to make sure people are safe eating their food. Those that don’t meet the standard and have a score below three face formal enforcement action including statutory enforcement notices, closure and fines.

Restaurants and takeaways should display their food hygiene score clearly for customers to see in their window.

If the score is not clearly on display, customers are advised to ask before they book or visit www.food.gov.uk for more information.

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