Recently publicised Food Hygiene ratings for Norwich’s restaurants and takeaways have revealed some surprising and unsavoury facts about the city’s eateries, which include several student favourites.
According to the Norwich Evening News, some 153 food establishments achieved a rating of 2/5 or lower and some were reported to be infested with “rats and cockroaches”. Thankfully, the Union’s food establishments have all earned a rating of at least 3/5, with the Union Food Outlet and Paper Shop achieving 5/5.
Among the restaurants and takeaways to have earned a rating of 2/5 or less (as seen on Norwich City Council’s “Food Hygiene Standards” website) are Lim’s Fish and Chips and Royal Tandoori, both situated on Unthank Road and frequented by students.
Observations listed in the public report on Lim’s from July 2012, which achieved a rating of 2/5, revealed that sausages were stored in a “fridge” in the main counter that had an actual temperature of 14C, some of the raw meat being stored had no listed best before or use by date, and the curry cooker, sausage freezer and drinks fridge were considered so dirty that they contravened food hygiene standards.
At Royal Tandoori, which achieved the lowest rating of 0/5 or “urgent improvement necessary” as of December 2012, the report stated that ready to eat foods such as lettuce were stored next to raw meat among other cross-contamination risks that could lead to the spread of the potentially-fatal E-coli 0157 bacteria. There was no soap or towel provided in the staff w/c at the time of inspection, and the inspector notes that they suspected the food temperature probe had not been wiped down between uses, and that staff were not disinfecting kitchen surfaces often enough.
In the main city area, establishments Lola Lo’s and La Tasca achieved 2/5 each in September 2011 and January 2012 reports respectively. The report for Lola Lo’s noted a “growth of black mould” in the ice machine. At La Tasca, the inspector observed mould in the ice-making machine and noted that squid was being defrosted in the same sink where fresh salad and herbs were being washed, without being disinfected between uses – posing a contamination risk.
When asked for comment, the manager of La Tasca said the restaurant had another inspection last month and were praised for their cleaning procedures, earning 100% in several assessments and 5/5 overall.
Royal Tandoori said they were currently undergoing retraining and had made many improvements since the report, which they hope will be reflected in future inspections. Lola Lo’s management said there has been a complete change of management since the inspection and they currently deep clean the ice machine every week. Lim’s Fish and Chips said that they now record all temperatures and have improved their disinfection procedures.
It is currently not mandatory for food establishments to display their Food Hygiene rating, although recent ratings can be accessed through the Norwich City Council’s web page.