Why you shouldn’t serve food on 'unhygienic' wooden boards

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Serving dish: wooden plates can be classed as "unhygienic"
Serving dish: wooden plates can be classed as "unhygienic"
Following a Birmingham restaurant's £50,000 fine for repeatedly using “unhygienic wooden plates” to serve food on, The Morning Advertiser looks at how pubs can avoid finding themselves in the same situation.

Ibrahim’s Grill and Steak House in Acocks Green was first visited by Birmingham City Council in October 2016 after an alleged food poisoning outbreak affected a party of 14.

Number of issues

A number of concerns were found, including a "high level of reliance being placed on the use of disposable gloves, rather than the washing of hands", poor cleaning and sanitising chemicals not being used in accordance with manufacturer instructions, and wooden plates, which were incapable of being cleaned and were being used to serve food on.

Birmingham City Council said: “Wooden plates could pose a risk of food poisoning to anyone eating from them.”

Head of environmental health at the council Mark Croxford added: “It is completely unacceptable for businesses to put the health of people eating at their restaurants at risk.”

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) stated that wood is “generally not acceptable as a food contact surface as it is difficult to clean and disinfect and may shed splinters”.

Not acceptable

However, it said wood may be acceptable for cutting blocks and the maturation of traditional cheese, as long as the surface is “well maintained”.

When it comes to storage, the FSA said wood is generally not acceptable as a food contact surface, listing the same reasons as above.

Meanwhile, last year The Morning Advertiser looked at 11 ways not to serve food,​ courtesy of We Want Plates.

This included beer cans filled with gravy, bathtub toast, bacon on a washing line and ‘home-grown’ battered prawns. 

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