TEN York restaurants or food outlets have been given a zero rating by hygiene watchdogs.
Popular city-centre venue, The Biltmore Bar and Grill, was among those to receive zero out of five in the latest "Scores on the doors" inspections, but its owner said the result was due to a technicality with a complex piece of machinery, which had since been addressed.
Others to receive no score included Drakes fish and chip shop in Petergate, Il Paradiso Del Cibo in Walmgate, Lee Garden restaurant in Blossom Street. The Kushboo in Tang Hall Lane, Silver Star in Acomb Road, Sizzlers in Lowther Street, St John Takeaway in Clarence Street, and Village Green Preserves in Wheldake, as well as the supply of meals to Joseph Rowntree’s Red Lodge flats scheme.
In a previous purge by City of York Council for the Food Standards Agency two years ago, only five premises were given the zero rating.
At the Silver Star, inspectors said cooked rice and noodles were left to cool in the back yard – presenting “ideal conditions for food poisoning.”
At Sizzlers, Kebab meat was being reheated on a griddle at temperatures which could breed large amounts of bacteria.
A number of owners complained the poor rating was linked to technicalities while their kitchens were given a clean bill of health.
The FSA’s Scores on the Doors scheme targets food handling, cleanliness, and hygiene checks.
Communications manager Jim Smith said: “Businesses with ratings of ‘0’ are very likely to be performing poorly in all three areas and are likely to have a history of serious problems.
“There may, for example, be a lack of sufficient cleaning and disinfection, evidence of pest problems, and there may not be a good enough system or checks in place to make sure the food is safe.
“Where standards are poor such as those with ratings of 0 and 1, food safety officers will be working with the business to make sure improvements are made.”
City of York Council has issued its findings to The Biltmore Bar, Lee Garden, Sizzlers, Silver Star, St John Takeaway, and Red Lodge.
Investigations are continuing into Drakes, Il Paradiso De Cibo, Kushboo, and Village Green Preserves and therefore the reports are not being released yet.
Biltmore proprietor Andrew Dunn said: “The rating was awarded based on a technicality regarding a piece of complex machinery.
“It was stressed to us at the time that our kitchen was extremely clean and the award was in no way a reflection of the freshness of our produce. We have, of course, addressed the technicality.
“We welcome an inspection of our kitchen any time as we pride ourselves on always previously holding five stars.”
Joseph Rowntree’s care services director John Kennedy said: “We took the inspection report very seriously.
“The issues raised were rectified immediately. A re-visit has taken place and the inspector was satisfied. Red Lodge has a history of very positive ratings.
“We have reviewed our practices to ensure that our usually high standards are maintained in the future.”
A spokesperson for Drakes in Low Petergate said: “The reason for the zero rating is not due to the quality of the food or cleanliness of the premises.
“The rating has been arrived at due to a paperwork and a lighting issue which has now been resolved and we are currently waiting for a revisit.”
Walmgate-based Il Paradiso owner Paolo Silesu said his restaurant was very hygienic, the produce was always fresh and he was committed to working to address any issues.
He linked any faults to the structural nature of the restaurant and the ventilation of the wood burning pizza oven at the Sardinian restaurant.
Sizzlers said they were under new management and will reopen as Night Bites after re-inspection so customers could be confident all the problems had been resolved.
St John Takeaway said they had been re-inspected since the report came out and everything was fine. Manager Zunal Agdimas said: "We’re a very clean shop."
Nobody was available to comment from the other businesses involved.