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Hotel Food Safety – Don’t judge a book by its cover

Hmmmm it seems that all that glistens really isn’t gold. Call me a fusspot, but if I were prepared to pay £290 per night to stay in a swish hotel, I’d expect everything to be done to the very highest standard, including food hygiene. But apparently that isn’t always the case according to a report published by consumer group, Which?


The report reveals that although some four and five star hotels might have won awards for their restaurants and luxury spas, they have fallen short during basic hygiene inspections by food safety authorities. One commenter on the Edinburgh Evening News website said that they had worked in the kitchens of two of the 200-odd hotels which had failed the inspections. They made reference to waste bins being kept inside and the presence of cockroaches, rats and mice and said “If the people knew the real truth about these hotels they would go out of business…I could write a book about what I have seen over the years working in this industry.”

Food Hygiene RatingsFHRS

In England and Wales the food hygiene inspections are rated from zero (urgent improvement necessary) to five (very good). In Scotland premises receive either a pass or fail. The inspector his/her rating on the following criteria:

  • How hygienically the food is handled – i.e. how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • The condition of the structure of the buildings – i.e. the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe

So a low rating or fail might mean that the food itself is cooked and handled properly, but that there are no checklists or monitoring procedures in place to prove that measures are always taken to ensure that the food is safe.

Consumers are becoming more and more aware of food hygiene ratings, so it is in everyone’s interests within the hospitality industry to make sure that what the customers don’t see is as polished as what they do.

To make sure that you’re up-to-scratch on basic food hygiene, why not take our online course?