DOZENS of takeaway shops have been ordered to improve their low food hygiene standards the Echo can today reveal.
One outlet, Chilli Pepper, in Washington, was given 0 out of five in an inspection, in which officers said a drastic change was required for it to continue operating.
The site is now closed.
But 34 takeaways, including 2-4-1, in Eddison Road, Washington, Golden Chippy, in Southwick’s The Green, Caesar, in Chester Road, and Bengal Spice, in Melbourne Street, scored just one following inspections by Food Standards Agency officials.
A score of one out of five means that major improvements to hygiene standards are necessary.
A spokeswoman for Golden Chippy, which was last inspected in April, said: “We are new owners and standards were bad at the time of the inspection, but since then we have cleaned things up and we are now waiting for the food and hygiene inspectors to come and visit again.”
Despite the Food Standards Agency website stating that 2-4-1 was visited on September 18 last year and awarded the low score, a spokesman told the Echo: “It’s totally wrong. It hasn’t even been rated yet,”
Caesar and Bengal Spice could not be contacted for comment.
Among those to get a “top-rated five out of five rating were Bertos, in North Bridge Street, Bhaji, in Newbottle Street, Houghton, and Big Macs, which is in The Green, in Southwick.
Owner of Big Macs, Ashleigh Coombs, said that food hygiene levels are of paramount important to her business.
“If you aren’t a clean and tidy business and it looks dreadful then who is going to want to come to you?” said Ashleigh, who has run Big Macs for the past 13 years.
“Even just for safety reasons like keeping away things like e-coli, it’s very important.
“Most of it is just common sense, like the need to make sure your food is kept at the correct temperatures overnight.”
Coun Michael Mordey, portfolio holder for city services at Sunderland City Council, said: “Food hygiene ratings based on Food Standards Agency guidelines are applied by our Environmental Health officers following regular inspections.
“Those ratings are displayed on our website to allow customers to make an informed choice of which takeaways they choose to visit. We monitor catering establishments with low ratings to make sure that they do not present an imminent risk to health, and will take enforcement action where necessary.
“Our officers provide practical support and advice to businesses to help them improve standards for their customers and achieve better food hygiene ratings. Anyone with concerns about a particular takeaway or sandwich shop should contact us on 520 5555.”
Hygiene ratings carried out by the Food Standards Agency can be found on Sunderland City Council’s website.