Here are some of the tell-tale clues you can look out for when choosing somewhere to eat out or buy a take away.
- Clean public areas
- Staff wash their hands regularly between different tasks (like handling raw meat and then ready-to-eat-foods or cleaning and clearing tables and then going on to serve ready-to-eat foods)
- Hot food is served hot and cooked right the way through, unless it has been ordered otherwise.
- Cold food is served cold
- On a carvery, salad bar or delicatessen counter, dishes of food are not just topped-up, but the whole dish changed
- If you can see into the kitchen as doors open or behind servery areas they are clean and reasonably tidy
- Clean and smart looking staff who are dressed for the job
- Overflowing waste bins and dirty or untidy rubbish areas
- Dirty looking staff, with dirty hands or fingernails or dirty habits
- Staff wearing dirty overalls, uniforms or aprons and long hair that is not tied back
- Dirty toilets and wash-hand basins and a lack of soap and toilet paper
- Dirty tables, cutlery, crockery and glassware
- Hair, insects or other matter in the food
- Food on sale past its ‘use-by’ date
- Raw foods (especially raw meat) stored right next to cooked foods or the same utensils used for both.
It’s best to base your judgement on a few of the above clues, but several of the warning signs spotted can represent poor management and sloppy hygiene standards.
What you should do if you think that the hygiene standards aren’t up to scratch
- Complain to the manager or owner of the business
- Report the business to the Food Safety Team at Wealden District Council (if the business is outside Wealden then to a Local authority for the area)
- Take your business elsewhere.