THE good news is that the vast majority of Penzance's eateries, takeaways and cafés, as well as supermarkets and other food outlets, have been rated good or very good by a new food hygiene scheme – but not every firm is squeaky-clean.
Of 130 businesses and other establishments in the TR18 area (covering Penzance, Gulval and most of Heamoor) tested in the scheme, which is run by Cornwall Council in partnership with the Food Standards Agency, 59 (45 per cent) received the top grading of five stars while another 41 (31 per cent) received four.
However, ten establishments (see adjoining panel) have been told they need to improve – seven of them receiving one star, requiring them to achieve 'major improvements' and three others two stars, meaning they have been asked to make improvements.
A number of the establishments with lower ratings declined to comment or were unavailable when The Cornishman got in touch.
However, a spokesman for the one-star-rated Full House Chinese takeaway restaurant in Parade Street, said the restaurant was due to be retested in September and staff were expecting a better score.
"There were one-off specific problems on the day of the inspector's previous visit; before that we've always had a very good rating and I'm confident that on our retest we'll get three or four stars," she said.
Harry Williams, manager of the Union Hotel in Chapel Street – tested last month and awarded one star – said work to update the kitchens, requested by the inspectors, had already been completed.
"We have been told to make certain improvements and they have been done," he said.
No business in the TR18 area was given the lowest rating of no stars, meaning urgent improvements are necessary.
The ratings show how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law and firms are encouraged to display the stickers and certificates at their premises.
In particular, the food safety officer inspecting a business checks how well the business is meeting the law by looking at:
how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, reheated, cooled and stored;
the structural condition of the building – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities;
how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.
As the scheme has only been running for 18 months, not all businesses in an area subject to the regime will yet be rated.
Details of the food hygiene ratings in other areas of west Cornwall will be published as they become available.
For further information, see http://ratings.food.gov.uk