BBC Scotland HQ slammed over state of kitchens

BBC Scotland’s flagship headquarters has been slammed by food hygiene inspectors over the state of its kitchens.

BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow. Picture: Ian Rutherford

A series of food safety breaches were discovered at the catering facilities at the £188 million Pacific Quay building in Glasgow.

They included dirty, crumbling work surfaces, uncovered food and staff with no proper training in food hygiene issues.

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There was a lack of hand washing facilities in food handling areas, a faulty fridge and inadequate records kept.

The damning report of the failed inspection also revealed kitchen staff risked poisoning customers by storing and preparing raw and ready-to-eat foods right next to each other.

The canteen at Pacific Quay is for use by the 1,000-strong staff who work at the building, such as Reporting Scotland newsreader Jackie Bird and football pundit Chick Young.

The kitchens are run by facilities management firm Servest Group, who were awarded a £25 million three-year contract in March to provide catering at BBC bases across the UK.

The inspection by officers from Glasgow City Council was carried out earlier this year but has only now been made public.

The premises failed to meet food hygiene standards and was issued with an “improvement required” certificate in May. A follow-up visit two weeks later saw the same certificate issued despite some improvements being made.

In their report one of the inspectors noted: “Reporting high staff turnover and use of agency staff.

“Coupled with lack of documented Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) this may explain the very poor standard of the premises and the numerous deficiencies noted.

“The entire cross contamination prevention regime requires to be reviewed.”

The report ordered bosses to clean up their act. Better monitoring of cleaning and “durability” of prepared food was also called for.

Servest insisted they had acted swiftly to improve standards at Pacific Quay and said they had since been given a “pass” certificate.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “We are aware that in the early opening weeks of the contract there were a few issues but they have all been addressed and a pass certificate has been issued by Environmental Health.”

The BBC’s catering facilities were previously run by the BBC Club, which was set up in 1924 as a private members club for BBC employees.

Catering at the BBC has long been the butt of jokes by comics, with Ronnie Corbett, Peter Sellers and Terry Wogan all having a pop at it in the past.

Terry Wogan calls Beeb tea ‘the evil brew’ and Peter Sellers once joked on the Goon show in the mid-50s: “Lunch is now being served in the BBC canteen. Doctors are standing by.”

The Pacific Quay building was official opened in 2007 by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown after the project ran more than £60 million over budget.

A BBC spokesman declined to comment.