Which? Investigation lifts lid on hotels with poor food hygiene

Which? Investigation lifts lid on hotels with poor food hygiene

More than 650 UK hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation and guesthouses have been found to suffer from poor food hygiene ratings.

An investigation by consumer group Which? Travel discovered that some luxury hotels have failed food hygiene inspections.

A total of 652 hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses received a score of ‘2’ or below in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on the Food Standards Agency scale, or an ‘improvement required’ rating in Scotland.

The four-star Dean Court Hotel in York, part of the Best Western Premier Collection holds two AA rosettes, but hygiene inspectors found its kitchens in need of ‘major improvement’, awarding a rating of just ‘1’.

Meanwhile, the five-star Royal Horseguards in London also has two AA rosettes – and a food hygiene rating of just ‘2’.

Best Western blamed the score at Dean Court Hotel in York on “a previous chef’s administrative oversight and clerical error”.

Guoman Hotels, owner of The Royal Horseguards, said that “a new senior management team immediately took action to improve standards”.

Both properties are currently awaiting re-inspection.

Food hygiene inspectors visiting the Birmingham city-centre Novotel noted “high-risk food… out of temperature control”, flies in food preparation areas and a poor standard of cleaning throughout.

Novotel owner AccorHotels, said: “We took immediate action to correct the issues raised from the inspection.”

It is also awaiting re-inspection.

Environmental health officers acting for local councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland rate food businesses, including hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses, from ‘0’ (urgent improvement necessary) to ‘5’ (very good), while those in Scotland receive a ‘pass’ or ‘improvement required’ rating.

The results are published on the FSA website and hotels are given a sticker to display at the entrance to their premises.

However, displaying ratings is not mandatory in England or Scotland, and FSA research shows that businesses with a lower rating (‘3’ or less) are significantly less likely to display their sticker.

Which? Travel sent undercover researchers to eight hotels in London, Birmingham and Northumberland with a food hygiene rating of between ‘0’ and ‘2’. Not one was visibly displaying its rating.

Which? Travel editor, Rory Boland, said: “More than 90% of us eat at least one meal in our overnight accommodation, so it’s vital that hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses have high standards of food hygiene.

“We know that displaying the rating outside the premises encourages higher standards, which is why we support the FSA case for a compulsory display scheme.”

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