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Almost 90 food businesses in Medway are in need of serious improvement, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Seven have been given the lowest possible rating of 0 which means they need urgent improvement, and have had to stop trading.
But there are almost 60 more requiring ‘major improvement’ and a further 23 businesses for which ‘improvement is necessary’. The Medway Messenger has obtained the figures following a succession of grim headlines detailing restaurants overrun with cockroaches and mice.
A total of 87 businesses in Medway are not up to scratch, which is equivalent to around 11% of the 767 premises rated by the FSA.
Last week the Messenger reported on Zia Cheema, the owner of Lahore Karahi House in Gillingham High Street, who was fined after his takeaway failed its inspection because of an infestation of cockroaches.
Cheema also owns Lahore Meat & Grocers in the same street, which was also given a rating of zero earlier this year. But it is not just independents which have been found in a filthy state.
Others to fall foul of inspectors recently include large chains like The Real China in Chatham Maritime and the Dixy Chicken and Pizza franchise in Gillingham, which has been told it needs ‘urgent improvement’ following a zero rating.
Medway council’s environmental health officers were alerted to Lahore by a customer who was disgusted by the state of the toilets and a foul smell. A mice infestation briefly closed popular Rochester pub the Ye Arrow at the start of this year.
With routine inspections happening between six months and three years – depending on how risky the business is deemed to be –concerns have been raised over the state of other premises in Medway.
Roughly 80% of Medway’s food businesses are ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and the rest are ‘satisfactory’.
Cllr Peter Hicks, head of environmental health at Medway Council, said: “We enforce the findings of inspections and if a premises is found to fall below standards it is closed. There are a lot of premises in Medway and very few below standard.
“If the public have any concerns they should rely on their own judgement and go to restaurants they know well and have had a positive experience at.”
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