Good Food in West Cornwall

Posted on: 26th August 2014

Good food in West Cornwall is in plentiful supply but there are a few cafes, pubs, restaurants and take-aways that do not strive hard enough to reach the high, safe standards we would all hope for.

Last week I went out with the officer responsible for food safety checks locally. Although he has been in the job for many years, I was surprised to learn he had never had a Councillor join him before. We went around Penzance.

I was aware of the star ratings at eating places but these visits brought the meaning home to me. There is no requirement for the star rating to be displayed to us as members of the public but as you go around you will notice 4 and 5 star ratings displayed at many of our eating places. Those not displaying may well be choosing not to because they have only achieved a 3 or below. 3 is a satisfactory standard but a 2 or a 1 should be concerning to any business owner and its customers. What I saw on my day with the officer is how hard he works to encourage and support them in bringing standards up.

We went to a fish and chip shop with a 4 star and by the end of the visit the owner beamed as he was raised to a 5! The conversation showed clearly why that had happened because the owner had listened to advice and ensured he took action. He took a pride in providing good and safe food.

We went to another business, with a 2 star, and I have to say my untrained eye could see why it was a lower rating as soon as we crossed the threshold. It has made me think that, as customers, we should support the work of the Food Safety Inspectors by asking places not displaying the star rating what they are rated and if below a 3 I think we should be asking what their plans are to improve the situation. We should judge for ourselves whether we think they are striving to provide us with better, safer food or whether they are not that bothered. We have many good food businesses so should we be supporting those unwilling to commit to good food standards?