Cleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 23rd March 2023 Issue no. 1057
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Hygiene - it's in the genes
Wetherspoon has topped the charts in the latest food hygiene rating league table (as at 1st August 2022). Wetherspoon's pubs consistently top the charts in the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme among the biggest pub chains - and this number-one spot highlights that excellent consistency.
The FHRS is run by local authorities and is the only independent British Government scheme assessing the level of hygiene standards in pubs, restaurants, take-aways, clubs and cafes. It scores outlets 0-5, with the highest-possible rating of five meaning 'very good' hygiene practices and safety systems in place, fully complying with the law.
Outlets with a rating of four are deemed to have 'good' hygiene standards, while three is 'generally satisfactory', two needs 'some improvement', a rating of one requires 'major improvement' and 0 requires 'urgent improvement'.
Wetherspoon had the highest average FHRS rating, per premises, of any company.
It was ahead of pub companies including Slug & Lettuce and Loungers/Cosy Club and was also rated higher than restaurant and sandwich chains, including PizzaExpress, Miller & Carter, Pret a Manger and Greggs - although many of those companies also scored highly.
Of Wetherspoon's pubs, 775 currently have an FHRS rating, with 98.34% of those achieving the highest-possible rating of five.
Scotland operates the Food Hygiene Information Scheme. This scheme has a pass/fail rating - with 65 Wetherspoon pubs in Scotland gaining a 'pass' score - a 100% success rate. The ratings for both FHRS and FHIS follow an independent assessment of food hygiene at premises, determined by local authority environmental health officers visiting outlets to assess hygiene levels.
Environmental health officers assess three areas: food hygiene and safety procedures; structural compliance; confidence in management.
The ratings (as well as the date of inspection) can be found online and on stickers displayed at businesses' premises.
"We are proud of our pubs' hygiene ratings," says Wetherspoon's personnel and retail audit director, James Ullman.
"However, we also take it extremely seriously when a pub does not achieve the maximum rating in either scheme.
"Where a maximum score is not achieved, we work hard with each pub's team and local authority to ensure, as quickly as possible, that standards are returned to expected levels."
To achieve the highest-possible rating of five, Wetherspoon pubs' management and staff must achieve and maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene, including:
Hygienic food-handling. This is how food is prepared, cooked, cooled, reheated and stored:
- checking fridge temperatures
- hand-washing facilities and practices
- equipment used for raw and cooked foods being kept separately
- staff members' understanding of food hygiene
Physical condition of the premises and facilities. This is the assessment of the standard of cleanliness and upkeep, including whether:
- the condition of general decoration, layout and lighting is of a good standard
- it is clean and cleaning materials meet requirements
- there is suitable ventilation and pest control
- rubbish and waste are disposed of correctly
Food safety management. This ensures that suitable precautions are taken to keep food safe, including:
- staff training records
- logs of relevant checks, such as fridges' temperatures and cleaning
- safety procedure records
As well as the independent assessments by the FHRS across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the FHIS in Scotland, Wetherspoon also monitors its own pub hygiene standards.
Every pub receives at least five quality-assurance visits each month from a combination of its area manager, Wetherspoon's own audit department, an external 'mystery shopper' company and other head-office managers. Our picture shows Wetherspoon, Epsom, which is also a winner of the annual Loo of the Year Awards. It was built in 1692.
3rd November 2022