Birmingham City Council confirmed that both businesses were given a zero rating following inspections by environmental health officers, who indicated that ‘urgent improvement’ was necessary.
Marco Pierre White's Steakhouse Bar & Grill on the 25th floor of the Cube was rated ‘bad’ for food hygiene and safety and ‘poor’ for structural compliance, with officers stating they had no confidence in management.
Malmaison, in the Mailbox on Royal Mail Street, was rated as ‘very bad’ for both food hygiene and safety and structural compliance, with officer again recording no confidence in management.
Birmingham food standards
The high-end establishments were among 142 food businesses in the city that scored a zero rating. A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council stressed that the proportion of eateries with serious hygiene problems in the city was ‘very small’ and issues were dealt with quickly.
“Hotels, restaurants, takeaways, food retailers and manufacturers are all included in a regular inspection programme and officers also respond to enquiries and concerns raised by customers who may be concerned about conditions they see in food businesses they visit,” said a Birmingham City Council spokesperson.
“In Birmingham most food businesses operate to a good standard, but if they fall below satisfactory standards, our officers carry out revisits, and take proportionate enforcement action to ensure that standards are improved.”
The zero ratings will remain valid until the date of the businesses next inspections, which could take between six to 18 months.
A spokesperson for Marco Pierre White said the restaurant was working closely with the council to resolve the issues, and had appointed a food safety consultant to ensure staff remained up-to-date with industry regulations.
Scores on the doors
These latest revelations come just weeks after Jamie Oliver closed his upmarket Barbecoa Butchery in London for 24 hours after environmental health officers gave it a low hygiene score. According to reports, the officers found dirty fridge handles and mouse droppings, as well as some out-of-date meat products, at the butchery.
At the moment it is not mandatory for businesses in England and Northern Ireland to display their food hygiene ratings, although they can be found on the government’s ‘Scores on the Doors’ website.
A spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) told BigHospitality the ratings provided an ‘important commercial driver’ for businesses of all levels to improve and maintain standards, as well as giving consumers the power to vote with their feet.
“The scheme is not about the quality of the food or how it tastes,” he said. “It is about hygiene standards and ensuring that the food prepared and served is safe to eat. All businesses, no matter what type of food they prepare or serve, should be able to get the top rating by meeting the requirements of hygiene law.”
Improving your hygiene rating: top tips from the FSA
- Look at its last food hygiene inspection report to check that all of the actions needed to meet legal requirements have been taken - if they can’t find their last report, they should contact the relevant local authority which should be able to provide a copy
- Continue making regular routine checks to ensure hygiene standards are being maintained and staff understand and are following the rules, and promptly arrange for any repairs or maintenance of the premises or equipment
- Ensure the documented food safety management system is being kept up to date and all necessary records and checks completed and recorded
- At the next inspection, if the business does not get the top rating and has queries about the improvements needed to get a better rating, then the food safety officer will be able to give advice
- The Food Standards Agency has a range of tools that can help businesses manage food hygiene at the hygiene resources page of the FSA’s website.