Special food hygiene investigation. How did your favourite place fare?

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Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your favourite takeaway?

Well, Chorley’s grot-spots and most hygienic hubs have been revealed in a new list that has been published for the first time by Chorley Council.

All food outlets across the town were inspected by environmental health officers, and given a star rating of between one and five.

The report dishes the dirt on food hygiene standards in pubs, restaurants, takeaways, and any place you’d expect to eat food, and the findings may come as a shock to some readers.

While no establishments received a dreaded zero, which would mean ‘urgent improvement is necessary’, 12 were given a one-star rating, meaning ‘major improvement is necessary’.

Those faring worst will have to show a significant improvement in time for the next inspection, or risk the council enforcing action against them.

The stark findings have now been published on the Food Standards Agency website, and of the 690 places to go under the microscope, an impressive 321 got the highest five-star rating in Chorley and the surrounding villages.

The scheme was officially launched at one of the town’s best-scoring butchers, R & K Miller on Eaves Lane, on Wednesday.

Coun Eric Bell, who is responsible for food safety at Chorley Council, presented the butchers with a certificate to display to customers.

He said: “We’ve chosen to launch the scheme here because it goes to show that even small, independent businesses can achieve the best hygiene standards, even if they don’t have the money that the big brands have behind them.

“It’s reassuring to see that no food outlets have come out with zero, and the vast majority have at least a satisfactory rating or above.

“We work very closely with all the food premises to make sure that where there are examples of poor food hygiene, the council can work with the owners to help them improve.”

He added: “You can see by the scores that there are lots of places with a five out of five rating, and we hope the new scheme will help encourage those with low scores to take steps to improve, and we will help them to do this.”

The nationwide scheme tests food outlets in a number of different areas, including cleanliness, staff training on food hygiene, the structure of the building, and making sure establishments are supported by the correct paperwork.

Scores will be updated as part of the normal food inspection regime and where improvements have been made, managers can request another inspection.

Chorley’s Environmental Health Officer, Chris Bingham, said: “Those with lower scores will be visited more frequently than those who have received satisfactory ratings, and we’ll give the managers advice on how to improve their standards.

“We’re hoping this scheme will give them an incentive to do better in future.”

Butchers, bakers, schools, colleges, supermarkets, and leisure centres all fared well in the town and gained at least three stars.

Big names such as McDonalds, Costa, Morrisons and Glovers all received five stars, and other top scoring haunts include the Sir Henry Tate pub, the Amalfi restaurant, Busy Bees nurseries, Chorley Little Theatre, Duxbury Park Golf Club, Halls Bakery, Hartwood Hall Hotel, the Railway Inn and the Fieldfare.

The full list of scores is available at www.chorley.gov.uk/foodratings.

For the full investigation, including responses from the one star establishments, see our double-page spread in this week’s Chorley Guardian.