Schools, nurseries, Edinburgh College, the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and Jenners are among hundreds of businesses to fail basic food hygiene inspections in the Capital.
Four schools, five nurseries and two playgroups have been served with an Improvement Required notice by food safety authorities.
The Royal Edinburgh failed its hygiene inspection in November, with officials ordering NHS chiefs to repair a kitchen floor covering, install an extra wash-hand basin and segregate ready-to-eat and raw vegetables.
Figures obtained by the Evening News through a Freedom of Information request show that 431 businesses across the Capital received an Improvement Required notice in inspections carried out since January last year – with 129 failing the test on all three categories of hygiene, confidence in management and structure.
Craiglockhart Primary School and Portobello High School both failed food safety inspections carried out by the city council, with officials noting concerns over confidence in management at the schools.
Panmure St Ann’s, a school for children unable to cope in mainstream education, fell foul of inspectors due to lack of confidence in management and hygiene, while Leith Academy was found lacking over structural issues on the premises.
The council said it was unable to provide more specific details on why the schools had failed these inspections.
Craiglockhart Nursery, Bright Horizons’ Rutland Nursery, Little Monkeys Nursery, Rocking Horse Nursery and High School Yards Nursery were all given Improvement Required notices, alongside Tiki Tots play area on Nile Grove and Nari Kallyan Shangho playgroup.
Lindsay Law, parent representative on the council’s education committee, said families across Edinburgh would want to see swift action taken by the council to improve hygiene ratings in schools that failed to pass routine inspections.
She said: “I think parents will be worried about this. I know school dinners is a subject that pops up again and again at school council.
“Parents want to be sure that their children are getting healthy meals every day, and part of getting a healthy meal is having it prepared in a healthy and safe environment. Obviously, if the facilities are not up to standard then that would be a real concern for parents.
“Parents’ concerns will also be around the size of school dinner facilities and the increasing worries over the effect of rising school rolls.”
Councillor Gavin Corbett, a former parent council chair at Craiglockhart Primary who has an 11-year-old son at the school, said it was important “all steps are taken to meet the highest expectations on food handling”.
He added: “I’m interested in how food can be made much more engaging for children as well, through linking up with local producers, growing vegetables at school, and learning life-long skills of cooking. It’s all about caring for food.”
Other Edinburgh businesses caught out by the inspectors include a restaurant in high-end department store Jenners, Edinburgh College’s canteen and charity sandwich chain Social Bite’s Rose Street store, which failed in all three categories.
Drylaw Young People’s Centre, which is run by the council, also received an Improvement Required notice, along with Pirniehall Out of School Care Provision.
The Scottish food hygiene system offers just two options to council inspectors – Pass and Improvement Required – in contrast to the rankings used in England and Wales which rate each business on a scale of one to five.
And in Scotland, unlike Wales and Northern Ireland, restaurants do not have to display their most recent hygiene standard rating.
A council spokeswoman said “confidence in management” could relate to a failure to ensure an adequate food safety management system was in place, such as logging temperatures to ensure they are being maintained at the right level. “Structure,” meanwhile, refers to the physical surroundings of a kitchen or food preperation room and how it relates to the area’s hygiene.
She said: “Our teams carry out regular food safety inspections throughout the city and these include all premises that sell food, including schools.
“When we find that improvements are required, we work with the schools to provide guidance and support to enable them to meet the standards expected. It should be noted that Improvement Required certificates do not suggest that there is any imminent risk to health.”
Last month it was revealed some of the city’s poshest hotels had fallen foul of inspections carried out by food safety officials, including the Scotsman, Macdonald Holyrood and the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian, where rooms can cost up to £290 a night.
And Edinburgh’s restaurants and takeaways were rated among the worst in the UK in terms of food hygiene, with only 68 per cent of businesses reaching the standards set out by the Food Standards Agency. However, city community safety leader Cammy Day said the figures highlighted Edinburgh’s robust inspection practices, taking more enforcement action.
Sarah Boyack, left, Lothian Labour MSP, said the results of the hygiene inspection at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital would be “concerning” to many patients and residents.
She said: “It’s vital that standards for food hygiene are high and the need for an improvement in hand-wash facilities and basic food hygiene is concerning given the importance of food for patient health and recovery.”
George Curley, Director of Operations and Facilities at NHS Lothian, said: “We take food hygiene extremely seriously and acted immediately to make the improvements asked of us last year.”
Donna Scott, manager at Little Monkeys Nursery on Kilmaurs Road, said the nursery passed its food hygiene inspection within two weeks of being given an Improvement Required rating.
She said: “Everything has been rectified. The inspectors came back and we were given a pass straight away. It was a storage issue with food in the kitchen.”
And Jill Dundas, general manager of Tiki Tots, said management at the facility had changed since the failed hygiene inspection in August last year.
She added: “Since then, all measures to make sure that doesn’t happen again have been put in place.”
Sally Tilley, Regional Manager for Rutland Nursery, said: “The nursery was inspected in November 2014 and advised of improvements to be made.” She added all work had been completed by December.
Nari Kallyan Shangho playgroup did not respond to requests for comment, while High School Yards Nursery near the Cowgate closed down last year. A member of staff from Rocking Horse Nursery declined to comment when contacted last week.
A spokesman for Edinburgh College said the improvements asked for by hygiene inspectors were “all minor issues” affecting the Granton Campus canteen.
A Social Bite spokesman said: “Last year we passed inspections in four out of our five food production facilities. Improvement was required in one facility which was addressed and rectified over six months ago and a new management team was put in place.”
Jenners’ restaurant just one of 431
Posh department store Jenners was among a host of upmarket venues around the city to fall foul of hygiene inspectors.
The shop’s restaurant was given an Improvement Required notice at a routine inspection last year, but bosses at House of Fraser – which owns the iconic Capital shop – insist steps have already been taken to carry out the necessary changes.
A company spokeswoman admitted the recommendations related to “staff training with regards to food separation” and said: “House of Fraser takes its health and safety standards very seriously.
“In a recent routine inspection, two of the restaurants passed inspection, while one was given recommendations for improvements, all of which have been implemented already.”
Elsewhere, schools, nurseries and hospitals that have failed inspections included the following institutions:
• The Royal Edinburgh Hospital
• Craiglockhart Primary School
• Portobello High School
• Leith Academy
• Drylaw Young People’s Centre
• Pirniehall Out of School Care Provision
• Edinburgh College Granton Campus
• Panmure St Anne’s special school
• Little Monkeys Nursery
• Tiki Tots play area
• Rocking Horse Nursery
Only two options available
IN contrast to that used in England and Wales, the food hygiene system in Scotland offers just two options to council inspectors – “pass” and “improvement required”.
Down south, a rankings system allows officials to rate each business on a scale of one to five, arguably giving the public a greater overview of how individual restaurants and eateries perform in inspections.
Some businesses in Scotland point out that an ‘improvement required’ rating should not be thought of as a fail, as it can be dished out for infractions both serious and relatively minor.
Businesses are marked against three separate categories – “hygiene”, “confidence in management” and “structure”. The latter two refer to the management system in place to ensure food hygiene standards remain high, and the physical surroundings of a kitchen and safety of the building as a whole in relation to hygiene.
In Scotland, unlike Wales and Northern Ireland, restaurants do not have to display their most recent food hygiene standard rating.
Firms are responsible for complying with hygiene rules, with local authorities providing enforcement.