A vegan doughnut shop manager has hit back after Leeds City Council gave them a damning food hygiene rating.
Dukes Donuts and Coffee in New Briggate, Leeds city centre, received a two star hygiene rating after inspectors visited on December 14. Inspectors demanded they clean the food trays with all the doughnuts on, the light switches and freezer seals.
They also told the shop to repair lots of structural issues, like a fridge storing “high risk chilled foods” milk and cream. A two star rating indicates that “improvements are necessary”.
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Shop manager Khalid Mahmood, 48, said the rating was “unfair” and mainly down to structural issues out of the shop’s hands. He added that he “didn’t understand” some of the inspector’s requests, including to clean the doughnut trays which he claims were clean.
Khalid, who is from Beeston, said: “When the health and safety guy came around and marked us down, I think it was a bit unfortunate and unfair. Mainly what he marked us down was for the structure of the inside of the building.
“We rent this building out from a landlord who we asked to do various jobs. The health and safety guy marked the flooring down, the water was too hot, there’s no light in the toilet – stuff like that.
“We took it on ourselves - out of our own pocket - to repair all that and to get it up to scratch. In terms of the cleanliness and the products, and the allergens that we take very seriously, it’s above board.
“I thought it was unfair because I thought with the health and hygiene, they'd look at the actual cleanliness of the place and that everything is above board, in terms of how we conduct ourselves with customers who come through our front door.”
The granddad-of-one added the issue with the broken fridge was an unfortunate “coincidence” as the wires had “tripped” the very day of the inspector’s visit.
While Khalid says all the doughnuts are vegan, many of the other products are not. The shop stores a range of milk like whole milk, oat milk and soya milk. Khalid said it would be “impossible” to operate with fridges that don’t work, “we wouldn’t be here,” he adds.
Inspectors also found the wash hand basin wasn’t secure and told them to reduce the water temperature as it was “too hot for effective hand washing”. Whereas the sink in the toilet needed hot water and the light switch wasn’t working - but Khalid thinks the inspector had difficulty finding the correct switch.
An ice cream freezer was also missing its lid and the freezers needed cleaning. There was freezer lid found broken, which the inspector added wouldn't shut properly.
Khalid says all the issues have been fixed, with about “£30,000” poured into the venue. He adds all freezers were replaced with three new freezers.
Leeds City Council was asked to respond to Khalid’s claims that the damning rating was “unfair”. The local authority maintained there was a “non-compliance with legal requirements and improvement was necessary”.
A spokesperson for the council said: “A food hygiene inspection was carried out by an Environmental Health Officer on December 14, 2021 with the business receiving a two rating under the Food Standards Agency Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, indicating non-compliance with legal requirements and improvement was necessary.
“All food businesses in Leeds are regularly inspected by Environmental Health Officers on a risk-basis to check their compliance with legislation all food businesses must follow and which are designed to protect food safety and public health. To protect public health it is vital that food businesses are kept clean, in good repair, have all the necessary facilities, and have effective food management practices in place.”
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“Following the inspection, a food business operator is able to appeal the Food Hygiene Scheme Rating score within 21 days of the inspection if they think it is unfair or request a revisit by an officer to reassess the premises subject to paying a fee when they have rectified all the legal matters identified in the report. Details on how a food business operator can do this are provided in the written report provided at the time of the inspection.”
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