[Tom Boon | Contributing Writer]
Club de Havilland has received 1 out of 5 rating for food hygiene.
Some people see eating out as a treat. You go for a meal, order your food, then it arrives. The thing is, do you really know what goes into preparing your food? The Food Standards Agency’s food hygiene rating scheme aims to inform consumers about what preparation goes into the food they’re eating.
The FSA states: “It’s not easy to judge hygiene standards on appearance alone, so the rating gives you an idea of what’s going on in the kitchen, or behind closed doors.” The scheme works on a scale of 0-5, with 0 meaning “Urgent Improvement Necessary”, and 5 meaning “Excellent”. Most of the outlets on campus have achieved 4 or 5 out of 5. One of the outlets on campus scored 1 out of 5 meaning “Major Improvement Necessary”, that was Club de Havilland. Second year Dietetics student, Zoë Garnish, commented: “Such a low score suggests poor hygiene in terms of food handling (preparation, cooking, reheating and stored) and issues like cleanliness of the building. These elements are essential to ensure that the food is safe to eat.” An FOI request was filed with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to determine why the outlet had received such a bad score.
The inspector’s report identified major issues with the venue’s kitchen including crosscontamination, out-of-date food, and a lack of E. coli guidance for staff among other things. The inspector’s report highlighted the handling of raw and ready-to-eat food as a specific hazard to food hygiene, with the inspector observing somebody handling raw eggs without washing their hands. The report also shows that burgers are made in-house, in the same machinery used to make cakes and sauces, and there was evidence of burgers being three days past their use-by dates. This seems shocking, especially as the report is so recent (16th December 2015). Issues such as extractor fans being dirty and missing filters, and the lack of knowledge about the risk of cross-contamination are worrying. The report mentions that raw pork was stored above ready-to-eat bread in a freezer, in addition to general issues such a paint flaking and the floor being in poor condition.
This is along with a lack of knowledge about how the surface sanitisers work. When Trident Media asked UH students about their views, second year Astrophysics student, Oliver Price, commented: “I think it’s disappointing and I probably won’t get food from there again.” Another student contradicted Price by saying: “Well it seems fine to me, the food isn’t too bad really and I haven’t had any hygiene queries with it.” Third year placement student Andrew Seaman said: “I’m honestly surprised by how low a score Club De Hav got! The food seemed okay. But now I’m not sure if I’ll order food there anytime soon.” Garnish commented: “[I] am considering never ordering food from there again, or at least until their food hygiene rating improves as this is very unimpressive”
When asked for comment, Chris Stocks of Conference Hertfordshire said
“We are extremely disappointed to have received such a low rating from the Environmental Health Office. We are confident that upon re-inspection all the issues raised by the EHO will have been addressed and we will go back to the 5* rating we received on our previous two inspections.” Stocks added; “It is important to note that a low rating does not necessarily indicate a dirty or unsanitary kitchen and we would like to reassure customers that we take their welfare and the cleanliness of our food preparation areas extremely seriously. Many factors are taken into consideration when issuing a rating including paperwork, lighting and ventilation all of which were highlighted in the feedback we received following our inspection and have been, or will soon be, rectified. “Club de Havilland has always received good feedback from our customers and our staff regarding our food and service and we are confident that this will continue to be the case.”
Whatever your views on the food at Club de Havilland, it seems clear that many are concerned about what they eat, and how it is prepared. The University of Hertfordshire has been approached for comment, keep updated on tridentmedia.org.