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Pubcos pulled up for poor hygiene standards

By Lesley Foottit , 04-Jan-2013

Food Hygiene Rating System: rated 1-5
Food Hygiene Rating System: rated 1-5

A tabloid hygiene investigation has named and shamed some of the biggest UK pub operators.

The Sun investigation in conjunction with the Food Standards Agency found hygiene blunders including dead flies and mouse droppings in kitchens as well as using the same chopping boards for raw meat and other produce, fridges set too warm and contaminated cleaning cloths.

Greene King’s Hungry Horse fared worst of the pub chains inspected with 11.8% of 17 venues reviewed scoring zero, one or two, which are below satisfactory scores. Of 128 Mitchells & Butlers’ (M&B) Harvester sites inspected 8.6% scored unsatisfactorily along with 4.2% of 95 Toby Carvery venues and 3% of 33 All Bar One sites. Whitbread’s Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Table Table brands also came under fire.

A spokesperson for M&B said: "We support the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and the reassurance it provides for our guests. The vast majority of our businesses that are on the scheme are achieving four or five stars. We are improving standards in any lower rated businesses and have set a company-wide target of achieving a minimum four-star rating in each site."

A Hungry Horse spokesperson said: "We take food and hygiene standards very seriously and have rigorous processes in place to ensure high standards in all our pubs. The Sun investigation used old data from just 17 of our 194 Hungry Horse pubs across the UK, which have an average food hygiene rating of above four stars."

Stonegate Pub Company has requested that the local authorities revisit all Slug & Lettuce and Yates’s sites that scored poorly in the investigation.

JD Wetherspoon was found to have hygiene standards above satisfactory in all 72 venues inspected.