AS IF bank holiday traffic jams, grouchy children and radio stations playing back to back adverts weren’t bad enough, drivers face another test of their patience. It has been revealed that well-known restaurant chains at motorway services have failed food hygiene tests.
One outlet performed so badly in the tests, carried out by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), that it scored zero out of 5. It was told that urgent improvement was necessary, and food hygiene experts warned that any restaurant with a score below three was a health hazard and should be avoided, especially by families with young children.
It’s enough to have worried mums and dads frantically cutting cucumber sandwiches at midnight before a bank holiday getaway and packing a picnic.
The test results were obtained with a freedom of information request made by the Press Association to the FSA. And the bad news for those living in or travelling through the southeast of England is that its motorway services are three times more likely than those in the rest of Britain to have a food retailer that scored less than 4 out of 5. The FSA says an outlet needs a rating of 4 to be classed as having “good” hygiene.
At South Mimms services, where the M25 and A1 cross, both Subway and Tossed were rated 2 out of 5 for hygiene and were warned that there was “improvement necessary”. At Beaconsfield services, on the M40, a branch of Carvery Express was rated zero in January, prompting FSA inspectors to state “urgent improvement necessary”, and an El Mexicana scored 1 out of 5 last October. At Peterborough services on the A1 a branch of El Mexicana scored just 2 last September.
Subway said it had been assured by the manager of the South Mimms branch that action had been taken to address the concerns. Tossed said that it was an isolated incident and that it had requested a repeat inspection. El Mexicana blamed “particular staff actions” and said concerns had been addressed and a second visit requested.