Across Britain, people are at risk of contracting food poisoning because of poor hygiene standards in takeaways, sandwich bars, pubs and restaurants.
According to data released by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) there are currently more than 800 establishments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with a food rating of zero.
In Scotland, there is a different rating system where businesses either pass or need improvement.
Businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are scored out of five and firms must be marked at least a three to pass muster. Last month, a report by the Food Standards Agency found one in five UK takeaways failed basic food handling an cleanliness checks.
Environmental Health Officers have told MailOnline that they work with business owners to bring up their facilities to the required standard. If this does not succeed then it is possible that a firm could be sent forward for prosecution.
According to the Sentencing Council, food safety and hygiene breaches can be tried either at Magistrates’ Court where the maximum fine was capped at £5,000 per offence until 2015, when the law was amended. In April 2021, Tesco was fined a record £7.56million after admitting 22 breaches of the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations by selling out of date food.
Among those receiving a zero rating is AMR Catering in Hay-on-Wye, home to the town’s Conservative Club.
It was found to need major improvement in the hygienic handling of food and urgent improvement on the systems and checks in place to show that food is safe to eat.
The cleanliness of the venue was ‘generally satisfactory’.
On January 3, inspectors from Bradford Council visited the Euro Mix supermarket on Haworth Road.
Each of the firms on the list have received a zero food rating and have been warned that urgent improvement is necessary otherwise they could face possible enforcement action
AMC Catering which is based at the Hay-on-Wye Conservative Club, pictured, received a zero food standards rating after inspectors visited the premises before Christmas
Dovid’s Deli in Salford was also handed notice that it had to urgently improve standards
The store is located on a small terrace between a sandwich bar and a Tesco Express on the north west outskirts of the city.
A Bradford Council Spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Food hygiene inspections are being undertaken by our Environmental Health Service at premises across the district including Euro Mix.
‘Whilst these inspections and any revisits or further action are carried out we are unable to share any information on individual cases, however once complete we would be in a position to release our findings.
‘As always high standards of food safety in our local businesses is a key priority for Environmental Health and firm action will be taken to remove any unsafe food from businesses in order to reduce the risks and protect the health of our residents across district.’
A week later, on officials from Manchester City Council attended Pronto Pizza in Kingsway, Manchester to conduct a food safety inspection. The firm was one of 5,624 places serving food in the city.
It is on a parade of shops around three miles south of the city centre.
Officials said the business needed to make major improvements on the way it handled food, the cleanliness of the facilities and the provision of hand washing facilities and adequate pest control.
The firm was also warned about staff training and whether food served by the business was being served as ‘safe to eat’.
In total, there are currently more than 13,000 businesses that do not reach the minimum three star standard.
A KFC restaurant on High Road Leytonstone E11 received a zero rating after it was inspected on August 9, 2022 when officials found ‘urgent improvement necessary’ across the standards measured.
The Leytonstone store received the lowest rating of all KFCs inspected last year. A further five were rated between one and two – below the minimum acceptable standard of three.
At Burger King, four restaurants received ratings of one and two, including the outlet inside Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre which was inspected on December 13.
The McDonald’s restaurant in Brent Cross Shopping Centre in London received a rating of two on December 5, one of four to fail an inspection since June 2021.
Chance & Counters board game café in Birmingham offers customers ‘filthy fries’ according to a sign on its window. Inside, inspectors found major and urgent improvement necessary at the firm when they visited on December 10, 2022
Ya Habibi restaurant in Acton, west London was found to urgently improve its standards when inspected on December 20, 2022
According to a spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency: ‘If the local authority food safety officer finds that a business’s hygiene standards are very poor and there is an imminent risk to health – this means food is not safe to eat – the officer must act to make sure that consumers are protected.
‘This could mean prohibiting part of an operation or closing the food business down until it is safe to recommence operation. A local authority food safety officer will work closely with food businesses that get low ratings to make sure they improve their standards.
‘They will tell the business how quickly these improvements must be made which will depend on the type of issue that needs to be addressed. As well as giving advice and guidance, officers have several enforcement tools that they can use to make sure that the improvements are made.’
During 2022, 1,335 food businesses were rated zero in 2022 and this has fallen to 806, though this figure changes daily when new ratings are added.
The spokesperson continued: ‘The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) gives people information about the hygiene standards in food businesses, and they can use the rating to help decide where to eat out or shop for food.
‘Ratings are a snapshot of the standards of food hygiene found at the time of inspection by food safety officers from local authorities.
‘The scheme gives business ratings from 5 (very good) to 0 (urgent improvement required). Ratings can be found online and on the green and black stickers displayed at business premises.’
The spokesperson added: ‘The FSA advice to people when choosing where to shop, eat out or order food is to check that the business has a food hygiene rating and choose only those with a higher rating.’
La Porchetta Pollo Bar and Pizzeria on Old Compton Street in London also received a zero food rating
Tottenham: Costa customer films ‘revolting’ flies and ants crawling over treats
In Tottenham a ‘shocked’ Costa customer saw what he claims was ‘revolting’ ants and flies crawling over their festive treats – only for staff to allegedly tell him the infestation ‘doesn’t bother’ other customers.
Daniel Renak, 34, had been craving something sweet after his lunch when he ventured into Costa Coffee on Fore Street in Tottenham late last year.
But Mr Renak, an operations manager from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was ‘quickly put off’ after claiming to spot some of the chain’s festive range ‘crawling with ants’.
The concerned customer flagged the issue to a member of staff but says he was told ‘it doesn’t bother some of our customers’ and that the manager was already ‘aware’.
After suggesting the staff remove the food, he claims the baristas had ‘no intention’ of throwing it away and it remained on display for 25-30 minutes afterwards.
A Costa Coffee spokesman said: ‘At Costa Coffee we take food hygiene extremely seriously and incidents like these are unacceptable.
‘We have robust cleaning and hygiene procedures in place and our franchise partner, who owns and operates the store, have taken immediate action. We have responded to the customer to apologise for their experience.’
Ant attack: A customer claimed they saw ants and flies crawling over the festive treats in the Costa Coffee on Fore Street in Tottenham
Staffordshire: Mouldy food and unrefrigerated meat stored next to tools and paint
In 2022 in Staffordshire, a former pub boss was fined more than £3,000 after hygiene inspectors found mouldy food and unrefrigerated meat stored next to tools and paint.
When inspectors visited the George and Dragon in Alrewas, Staffordshire they found ‘extensive’ mould growing on meat pies and fisherman’s pie stored unrefrigerated on the floor of a dirty storeroom.
Richard Maley, 50, from Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan, was the director of the company running the pub and restaurant when the offences occurred in 2016.
He was fined £1,280 and ordered to pay £1,800 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge.
Maley is no longer associated with the restaurant which now has a five-star hygiene rating. He had been due to attend North Staffordshire Justice Centre in 2017 but failed to turn up.
In a Staffordshire pub, two uncovered homemade cooked meat pies were found, as were a tub of uncovered cooked chicken, ham-and-leek filling, a covered jug of gravy and a covered jug of diced sausage and bacon stored unrefrigerated next to a box of DIY waste on dirty stairs
Maley had been due to attend North Staffordshire Justice Centre in 2017, but failed to turn up
Grimsby: Filthy Chinese takeaway shut down by health inspectors for the SECOND time in four years
Stomach-churning pictures show inside a filthy Chinese takeaway that health inspectors shut down for the second time in four years.
Revolting images show the filthy kitchen covered in rat droppings and pools of vermin urine while meat was left defrosting in a sink and dumped in dirty washing-up bowls.
Owner Wen Yi Cao, 50, of Grimsby, admitted 13 severe food hygiene offences when he appeared at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court on July 15.
Council officials made the shocking discovery during a routine inspection of China House takeaway in Grimsby last November and temporarily closed it down, saying it posed an ‘imminent risk’ but it has since reopened.
Pictures released on Facebook by North East Lincolnshire Council on July 19, taken inside the eatery on Pasture Street, also show dirty cooking utensils, stained tea towels and mouldy food containers.
In January 2022, China House was re-inspected by council officers where it achieved a food hygiene rating of three, meaning it was ‘satisfactory’.
Customers trolled a Chinese takeaway for ‘putting the grim in Grimsby’ after health inspectors released stomach-churning pictures from inside.
Pictures from a Grimsby Chinese show disgustingly dirty containers and shelves, with one tub caked in old food
Stomach-churning images of China House takeaway in Grimsby, including extremely dirty fridges and buckets of uncovered sauce
Liverpool: 27 mice are found inside filthy Chinese restaurant
A pest control company found 27 mice inside a Chinese restaurant and their droppings all over the kitchen after a member of the public raised the alarm.
Health inspectors declared Chung Ku, in Liverpool, posed an ‘imminent risk to health’ after a visit to the restaurant in 2019.
A dead rodent was found on a counter used to prepare food and droppings were found on bags of sugar, the cookers and on shelving and it was given a food hygiene rating of zero.
After their visit the restaurant was closed voluntarily by its owner, Dove Ross-Williams, for two weeks, during which time a pest control company found an extensive rodent infestation.
The court was told inspectors revisited on August 28, 2019, where Chung Ku was given a new food hygiene rating of three.
In 2021 Ross-Williams was ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £3050.
A health inspector found a dead mouse in the kitchen at Chung Ku in Liverpool in 2019
Nearly 16,700 food providers across the UK require improvements to their food hygiene, (Food inspectors in Liverpool shut a takeaway for the second time in under a year after deeming it an ‘imminent risk of injury to health’)
Enfield: ‘Huge’ cockroach and rat infestation found at takeaway
An Enfield kebab shop was fined thousands after health officials discovered a cockroach and rat infestation.
A ‘huge population’ of cockroaches and their faeces were found at Ponders End Kebab in High Street during a visit in August 2020.
During a follow up inspection in 2021 Enfield Council’s food safety team found uncovered rat activity.
The shop’s director Kazim Recber, of Town Road in Edmonton, pleaded guilty to 15 offences at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on December 9, 2021.
The 42-year-old and the kebab shop’s limited company, EMB Catering, were told to pay a total of £4,241.12 in fines, legal fees and damages.
This was the second time in four years the takeaway was made to close, and the revolting pictures showed leftover food all over the premises
A 2020 survey of 2,000 adults by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) found 82 per cent of people would not consider buying food from a business with a score lower than three or four.
While popular takeaway delivery apps have been refusing to sell products from restaurants who receive a food hygiene score of zero.
Last year the FSA said the UK is facing ‘significant risks’ to its food standards after the impact of Brexit, Covid and the war in Ukraine in the last two years, according to a new report.
One main concern identified was the fall in the number of inspections of food businesses because of fewer resources being available to local authorities.
The other was the delay in establishing full UK imports controls for high-risk food from the EU, which could mean more unsafe products reaching the UK market.
Lumps of raw chicken were found defrosting in sinks that were surrounded by dirty cloths and grime in a Grimsby Chinese restaurant