Mansfield and Ashfield businesses have hit back at what they argue are unfair hygiene ratings from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Some managers said that the FSA had updated their website with the wrong rating, while others said that they had been severely marked down not for issues that had nothing top do with food hygiene, like not having the right documentation on hand.
The FSA says its ratings are based on how food is handled, the condition and cleanliness of the premises and how the business ensures food is kept safe.
Inspections are carried out by local authority environmental health teams, who then update the FSA website.
The Duke of Sussex, Sutton, had a one-star rating on the FSA website, but manager Zara Huisman said they were given the incorrect rating after a cross referencing mistake by the FSA.
She said: “It’s crucial for the business. It’s not fair that we could lose customers over their mistake.
“The inspector sent me the sticker with a rating of three, and I assumed that was it.”
“They’d got the reference wrong in the office. We were a three, but they put us on the website as a one.
“We’re now a five.”
This could mean that while the Duke of Sussex had their rating displayed as a one, another restaurant received the three-star rating they should have had.
Their rating has now been changed from one to five-stars on the FSA website.
When asked why the Duke of Sussex was given the wrong rating, a spokesperson for Ashfield Environmental Health Team said: “On very rare occasions there are inputting errors on the website. Scores are never mixed up with others.”
Similarly, Burger Express, which trades at fairgrounds, didn’t have its rating updated on the FSA website after a recent inspection.
Manager Louise Hornby said: “It was the council’s fault they didn’t update the website.
“It was tested in again in October, and upgraded to a three.
“The council should have updated the website when it was last inspected, it’s taken them three months to do that.”
The rating for Burger Express has now been changed from two stars to three.
When asked why the wrong rating was listed for Burger Express, Gavin Bailey, Food Health and Safety team leader at Mansfield Council, said: “The only reason was a technical error on our behalf. The system hadn’t pulled the new information through.
“We have apologised to the owner for that.
“As soon as we hear of problems with the system, we rectify it immediately.”
Teresa McDonald, manager of Titchfield Park Cafe, Hucknall, explained that her business had been given a one-star rating after an inspector marked her down due to issues that should have been solved by the council.
She said: “The little jobs were up to the council to do, but the inspector penalised me for it.
“My kitchen is spotless. The inspector said ‘I had to do this’ because of issues with sealant at the back of the sink, which is down to the council.
“They also hadn’t updated the system, I’ve got a five rating now.
“It’s disgusting. Businesses are struggling.
“I just want an apology.”
On Friday 16th, Titchfield Park Cafe’s rating was changed from two-stars to five, with the last inspection listed as Thursday, January 15th.
Other businesses have complained that their rating wasn’t updated on the FSA website following an inspection.
The kitchen manager at Woodend Inn, Chesterfield Road, Huthwaite, said: “I put a lot of effort into making the kitchen cleaner to get us a higher rating.
“I understand they’re not the fastest to update the website, but we could have lost business from this.”
Woodend Inn is listed as “awaiting inspection” on the FSA website.
Ashfield District Council Environmental Health Team technician Kevin Crossland said: “We’ve had some problems with the computer systems. Some of the ratings aren’t up to date.
“We don’t update the ratings daily, we update them over the month, so there may be a lag.”
Another spokesperson for Ashfield Environmental Health team said: “The reason why some businesses may see a different score is that there is a period between inspection and when the data is uploaded onto the FSA website.
“The scores are usually updated on the website every 14 days however legally it can be up to 27.
For the worst rated food outlets in Mansfield, see HERE.
For the worst rated food outlets in Ashfield, see HERE.