Your favourite restaurant or food shop may look like a temple to taste on the outside but who knows what murky secrets are lurking out the back?
Well, thanks to the Scores on the Doors hygiene rating, a food outlet’s attention to cleanliness is now rated from five stars, for excellent, to zero, for not very good at all.
Have a look at our list of places in St Albans which according to the Food Standards Agency, are in “urgent need of improvement”.
1. Jersey Farm Chinese Cuisine, St Brelades Place was awarded a Food Hygiene Rating of zero on January 23 this year, but did not respond to our calls.
2. Rendezvous Cafe, Waddington Road was awarded a Food Hygiene Rating of zero on February 5 this year.
Bouslham Benabla, owner of the sandwich shop said: “We have a leaking problem from the property upstairs, who have some leaks in their roof, which is above our kitchen and two squares of the ceiling near our restaurant area.
“This would have been the main reason for our low score because they had a problem with it.
“I have since contacted the landlord of the property upstairs, who says he will look in to it. We hope for them to visit soon to get our score back to a number five.”
3. Madina Stores, Hatfield Road was awarded a Food Hygiene Rating of zero on July 18, 2013.
Asad Hanif, owner, said since the visit he has completed two Health and Safety courses to ensure the shop meets the requirements.
The business is family run and has been open for 20 years.
He said: “It is not very practical, they come and inspect first thing in the morning when you are preparing yourself and opening up. We have a very clean shop and if they had come at the end of the day they would see this.
“They visited on a summer’s day when we had the doors open and flies could get in. They used a camera which showed up dust in a corner, which is difficult to get to with a brush and hard for the human eye to see.
“I do accept that there were failings on our part and I think they have been reasonable.
“Since the visit two members staff, including myself, have been on a Health and Safety course and at any time seven days a week one of us will be present in the shop.”
Since the visit Mr Hanif has invested in new cleaning products and two more sinks for his store.
He explained: “Before the visit we only had one sink. Now we have one sink for the toilet, one for the meat and one for equipment, which we hope should meet the requirements.
“I have also improved checks to our frozen products and completing our finings book, so it is up to date.
“I hope they visit soon, so we can get our rating up as soon as possible.”
4. Pizza GoGo, London Road was awarded a Food Hygiene Rating of zero on August 22, 2013, but the management did not respond to our enquiries.
5. The Village Spice, How Wood was awarded a Food Hygiene Rating of zero on September 11, 2013, but did not want to comment on why.
6. Peri Peri Original, London Road was awarded a Food Hygiene Rating of zero on May 22, 2013. It is understood that the takeaway is now under new management since the visit.
7. Murgano's, Victoria Street was awarded a Food Hygiene Rating of zero on February 25, this year. The manager refused to comment.
8. Harpers Fish Bar & Restaurant, Loyd Court, Russet Drive was awarded a Food Hygiene Rating of zero on March 21, 2013. The restaurant did not respond to our enquiries.
Mike Lovelady, is head of legal, democratic and regulatory services at St Albans City and District Council.
He said: “Where premises are inspected and given the lowest score for hygiene standards, we will take action to ensure that they improve. This will involve providing advice on hygiene standards and follow-up inspections of the premises. We may take enforcement action where no improvements are made.”
Information obtained from the FSA website and was correct at the time of writing.