Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Pub again given only two stars after hygiene inspection

A PUB has failed a food hygiene inspection for the second time running.

The Rising Sun at Witheridge Hill near Highmoor was again given a two-star rating, meaning “some improvement needed”, following a visit by South Oxfordshire District Council’s environmental health officers on January 4.

This follows the previous visit in November 2017 at which it achieved the same rating.

On the latest occasion, officers found the cleanliness of the building and the business’s record-keeping were both “generally satisfactory” but the way food was handled needed to improve.

The inspections are conducted as part of the national Scores on the Doors food hygiene scheme, which is overseen nationally by the Food Standards Agency. All premises are given a sticker showing the outcome of their visit but are not legally obliged to display it in England, which the agency is lobbying to change.

Some outlets have criticised the scheme because businesses can lose marks for administrative shortcomings such as poor record keeping and they say the grade doesn’t always reflect the condition of the premises.

The Rising Sun was one of 26 in the Henley area that had failed their most recent inspection when the scheme marked its tenth anniversary last year. Since then, four others have improved their score to a passing grade. The latest two to pass are the Fox and Hounds at Christmas Common, which goes from one star to the top mark of five, which it had held previously, and the Station House in Market Place, Henley, which has gone up from two stars to three.

The former was inspected on February 13 and was found to be “good” in all three key areas.

The Station House, which was visited last month, was rated “good” for its general condition and “generally satisfactory” for food handling and record-keeping.

Reiner Hecken, who runs the Fox and Hounds, said the pub had only failed the previous inspection in July because officers visited at an exceptionally busy period and staff couldn’t find the necessary paperwork as it had been temporarily mislaid.

He said: “I’m pretty happy because the previous result wasn’t a true reflection of our hygiene. They came at 2pm on the hottest day of the year and the kitchen was going absolutely crazy.

“We failed because someone had put the logbooks in the dry store and we couldn’t find them, which is very unfortunate.

“I appreciate that there has to be some kind of system in place but you’d think they could have looked at our previous good record and come back a few days later. Still, they were very pleased at the latest visit and we’re glad to be back where we belong.”

No one from the Rising Sun responded to requests for comment.

Businesses which receive low scores can request an early re-inspection for a £160 fee or appeal to the local authority if they feel the rating was unfair or inaccurate.

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