City serves up hygiene warnings to restaurants

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MORE than 100 city centre pubs and restaurants have been ordered to improve their food hygiene standards.

High-profile names such as Jenners, TGI Fridays and Pizza Hut were among those to fail to achieve a new award set by the city council and the Food Standards Agency.

Every business now has to display a certificate on either a door or window saying whether the business passed, failed or is awaiting inspection.

In total, 130 of the 1000 businesses evaluated did not qualify for the scheme, and have been issued with an "Improvement Required" rating.

Seven of those were on Rose Street, six on the Royal Mile and six on Broughton Street. The premises visited were a mixture of pubs, cafes, restaurants and coffee houses, while private canteens were also included.

It is understood the failings found by the council range from very minor points to issues causing reasonable concern.

No indication as to the severity of the problem is given by the council, but if very serious problems were found, a premises would simply be closed down and not included on this list.

Environment leader Councillor Robert Aldridge said: "The Food Hygiene Information Scheme pilot, which covers almost 1000 premises, has been extremely well received by both businesses and members of the public.

"Under the scheme, businesses are made accountable for maintaining acceptable hygiene standards in their premises, while consumers are given the means to make better informed choices about where to eat out.

"The FHIS has made a very noticeable difference in the speed with which businesses given Improvement Required ratings rectify any problems to achieve a pass certificate."

The Pine Tree Bakery in Tollcross – which was closed down last year after evidence of mouse droppings and a beetle infestation were found – was among those issued with an improvement notice.

Other well-known food places to be given an Improvement Required notice include Jimmy Chungs on Waverley Bridge, The Bhs food facility on Princes Street, Cafe Piccante on Broughton Street, and Thai Lemongrass in Bruntsfield.

And while the Jenners catering department – which operates the company's staff canteen – passed, the food hall open to the public did not.

Pizza Hut on Castle Street was also given that notice, although the outlets on Lothian Road, Hanover Street, Leith Street, North Bridge and Frederick Street all passed.

Some outlets were commended for their efforts and given an enhanced certificate, including The Hub on the Royal Mile.

The council stated that a premises rated as requiring improvement would have failed to meet its standards.

But a spokesman for the TGI Fridays restaurant in Edinburgh said the notices could be issued for minor findings.

He said: "This is actually a helpful scheme by the council, who we work alongside on this."

A spokeswoman for Jenners added: "We have had no notification from the Food Standards Agency of this whatsoever and as far as we knew we had passed."