ONE OF Saddleworth’s top restaurants has received “an improvement necessary” hygiene rating from a consumer watch dog.
The White Hart at Lydgate was given a food hygiene rating of 2 in a ‘Scores on the Doors’ survey in October by Oldham Council.
‘Scores on the Doors’ offers consumers a chance to check out pubs, clubs, takeaways, restaurants and see how hygienic and well-managed food preparation is at any of the 515,182 listed premises throughout the UK.
Responding to the online report, the White Hart says the one shortfall from their recent inspection has been recognised and already been rectified.
They added: “We have already applied for a re-inspection and can assure all our customers this is a one-off and will not be repeated.”
The inspection found the Stockport Road restaurant was operating with just one vacuum pack machine so their Food Hygiene Rating of 5 was slashed to 2.
The kitchen was using the one machine for wrapping both raw and cooked food items in contravention of EU Food Standard Regulations.
But those same regulations allow the use of one roll of cling film to be used to wrap both raw and cooked food.
The White Hart’s Head Chef Mike Shaw said: “Using a vacuum packer for portioned food is better for both a higher quality standard and is more hygienic than using cling film.
“We could have chosen to use cling film and saved a lot of money. Instead we bought a second machine so we now have one for raw and one for cooked food.”
The White Hart’s owner, Charles Brierley, said: “Just two days after the inspection, we took delivery of a second vacuum packer at a cost of £1787.98.
“Our chef has very high standards and I support him with the necessary investment.”
He added: “The environmental health inspector advised us, that had it not been for the vacuum packer, we would have retained our rating of 5.
“We requested a revisit at the time but were advised we would have to wait three months.”
Mr Brierley, who has owned the White Hart for 23 years, said social media spread the ‘Scores on the Doors’ rating.
“This, coupled with speculation about the cause, is both misleading customers and damaging to the businesses good reputation,” he said.
“To reassure our valued clientele, I have been in contact with the Environmental Health Officer and she has kindly agreed to re-visit the premises before Christmas. I have every confidence the rating will return to 5.”
The White Hart is joint third top restaurant in Greater Manchester in next year’s Good Food Guide, The Michelin inspectors Pick of the Pubs Guide and are recommended in the AA Restaurant Guide and the AA Hotel Guide with gold standard four-star rating and two entries in the Michelin Hotel and Restaurant Guide.