Pub slapped with zero food-hygiene rating

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Score improvement: the Stocc Lodge has requested a rescoring for its food-hygiene rating
Score improvement: the Stocc Lodge has requested a rescoring for its food-hygiene rating
A market town pub has been awarded the lowest food-hygiene rating of zero and its standards were deemed to need major improvement.

The Stocc Lodge in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, received the rating when visited by inspectors from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council in September.

According to the Food Standards Agency website, the pub needed urgent improvement in the three areas inspected for food hygiene standards.

These were the hygienic handling of food including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage.

Incomplete records

The second area was the cleanliness and condition of facilities and building, including having appropriate layout, ventilation, hand-washing facilities and pest control to enable good food hygiene.

The third was the management of food safety involving a system or checks in place to ensure food sold or served is safe to eat, evidence staff know about food safety and the food safety officer has confidence standards will be maintained in the future.

A spokesperson for Stocc Lodge said: “The September hygiene report highlighted an number of issues, including those relating to record keeping, all of which have now been entirely rectified.

"The premises was voluntarily closed for four days, after which, the council revisited and gave the pub a clean bill of health.

"Another inspection is due to take place in December. The pub has an excellent new kitchen team in place, is immaculate and we are aiming for a top score in next month's inspection."

Top tips

Food safety issues can seriously damage a pub's reputation, but a five-star food-hygiene rating can improve it and The Morning Advertiser​​ looked at how this can be achieved.

Hygiene website Food Safety Guru​ issued five top tips on how to 'guarantee' a five-star rating.​

1. Storage

A storage system in the kitchen can eliminate any potential cross-contamination of raw with ready-to-eat foods.

Keep food items on racks instead of the floor and ensure they have a date label can also help achieve that five-star rating.

2. Preparation

When it comes to preparation, washing raw and ready-to-eat foods and dishes in the same sink can cause problems in the pub kitchen.

Having separate sinks is one option but, if this isn’t feasible, plan the day so ready-to-eat foods are washed first, then raw vegetables next.

Have separate time slots for dishwashing and food prep and stick to them. Use a colander to drain cooked veg so the finished item does not come into contact with the sink.

Sanitise the sink after washing raw fruit and veg and after dish washing and ensure procedures are documented.

Using the same preparation space for raw and ready-to-eat foods can also cause cross-contamination.

3. Cleaning

Keeping a clean handwash basin with antibacterial soap and blue roll for drying hands is vital in keeping the kitchen clean.

Use blue roll and sanitiser to clean work surfaces as cloths that are used more than once can spread bacteria causing cross-contamination.

4. Training

Training staff, particularly around food poisoning and safe preparation of food, through online courses and information sheets can help avoid the risk of contamination.

5. Record keeping

Food Safety Guru​ says operators will not get a Level 5 Food Hygiene Rating unless they adhere to the above points.

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