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UK: Chinese Restaurants Get Low Scores

According to environmental health officers in the United Kingdom, Chinese restaurants and take-out establishments have dirtier kitchens than other eateries.

chinese-takeout-featured.jpgA survey of restaurant food safety in the United Kingdom conducted by Transparency Data for The Independent newspaper found that more than half of 491 Chinese eateries failed to meet all legal food safety requirements.  In addition, almost half of the Indian restaurants and Indian take-out eateries and Kebab diners scored poorly on the survey.

A quarter of fish and chip restaurants surveyed failed, as did one in five Italian restaurants.  On the other hand, corporate fast food restaurants like McDonalds and KFC scored very highly on the cleanliness section of the survey.

Paul Hiscoe, a director at Transparency Data, told The Independent that Chinese and Indian chefs struggle on hygiene because of a combination of culture and language.  “They do not always understand food laws and often had difficulty understanding instructions from council officers,” Hiscoe said.

Survey results were no surprise as several Chinese and Indian restaurants in the UK have been prosecuted for food safety violations such as rodent infestations and other serious problems over the past year.

By law, all establishments that provide food and are open to the public in the UK are inspected by environmental health officers.  Officers rate food businesses with star ratings between five and zero.  The website scoresonthedors.org.uk also displays the hygiene ratings of over 105,000 food businesses in the UK.

Of the 491 restaurants with “China” in the title in Transparency Data’s survey, 33 percent were  given two stars, meaning that they needed to step up efforts to comply with legal requirements in order to stop the spread of bacteria that cause stomach bugs.

According to the study, 21 percent of the restaurants received one star, which indicates poor compliance, while 10 received no stars, which indicates general failure to meet legal standards.

In addition, of the 567 establishments with the word “kebab” in the title, 53 percent received fewer than three stars, while the number for Indian restaurants was 48 percent.

It is estimated by the Food Standards Agency that over 850,000 become sick with food poisoning every year in the UK.  Though it is important to note that environmental health reports in the UK only became publicly available five years ago at the time of freedom of information legislation.

The Independent’s reported scores and statistics from the study can be found below.

Chinese
55 percent with under 3 stars in 5-star ratings
Hundreds of Chinese eating places failed to score more than two out of five for hygiene.
Sample Size: 491

Kebab
53 percent
Many takeaways selling the Middle-Eastern meat snack were dirty, found the survey.
Sample Size: 567

Indian
48 percent
Fewer than half of restaurants and takeaways serving Indian food met all legal requirements.
Sample Size: 453

Fish
28 percent
Fish restaurants and chippies performed better, but still one quarter fared badly.
Sample Size: 2,053

Italian
21 percent
One of the better performers, with almost half of the premises rated four or five star.
Sample Size: 123

McDonald’s
4 percent
The US burger giant had the highest proportion of four and five star scores, 84 per cent.
Sample Size: 312

KFC
1 percent
The cleanest, with one in 100 fried chicken outlets scoring badly, despite a recent court case.
Sample Size: 91

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