A branch of a popular Oxford café chain has been told it requires “major improvement” after receiving a low hygiene rating in an inspection.
George & Davis’on Little Clarendon Street (known to students as G&D’s) received a one out of five for its food hygiene during a recent inspection by the Food Standards Agency.
The inspection took place in January, and the café has requested a re-visit.
There are a number of reasons why such a rating might be awarded by the FSA, such as inadequately ventilated or unclean cooking premises, unsafe food storage facilities or pest infestation.
Loredana Stroup, G&D’s Manager, provided an explanation from the café’s perspective on the low rating: “During a routine unannounced visit by an Environmental Health Officer a staff member did not explain the use of a hand sink […] and did not have access to and articulate our system related to Health & Hygiene training records.
“Normally these questions would have been readily addressed by a manager – but unfortunately at the time of this particular unannounced visit the manager was not on site.
“We promptly added an additional hand sink separate from the existing hand sink. This new sink was duly inspected (along with our training records) by the same Environmental Health officer on 1 April 2014 and approved.
“Accordingly, we expect to receive a five star FSA rating in due course,” she added.
The response to this recent low rating among G&D’s regulars has been mixed. Erin Dexter, a second year medic, took a humorous approach to the news. “I was shocked to find their kitchens are no cleaner than the cowsheds where their delicious dairy goods start out. I’ll think twice next time I order a greek yoghurt and honey with sprinkles!”
Tom Oliver, a second-year English student at Trinity described himself as “a keen but sporadic G&D’s customer” and stated that he was “recently appalled to discover that the already extortionately priced venue is letting its hygiene standards slip! One has to wonder given this new info if the ‘fro-yo’ is indeed that or rather expired ice cream. I shall certainly not be visiting again.”
Other students have been more optimistic. Shelby Holmes, another second year English student said “the ice cream is worth getting ill for”.
Constance Meath Baker, a History finalist at Trinity, also hoped that G&D’s would use this rating as an opportunity to improve their standards, as she was always “keen to support more independent outlets in Oxford”.
The George & Davis’ café was the first outlet to be opened by the G&D’s independent franchise in the summer of 1992. It was begun by an Oxford student, George Stroup, who wanted to provide the community with “great ice cream, reasonably priced quality food, friendly, convenient service and a bright, unpretentious atmosphere.”
A spokesperson from Oxford City Council confirmed that: “We recently inspected the premises and there were some issues regarding food safety.
“We have issued them with some notices with which they have complied. The owners have requested a re-visit and we expect to see a significant improvement when we visit,” she added.
In addition to the George & Davis’ outlet on Little Clarendon Street, there are currently two other G&D’s cafés in Oxford: George & Danver on St Aldate’s and George & Delila in Cowley. The G&D’s cafés on St Aldgate’s and Cowley road have four and five star FSA ratings respectively.
The Food Standards Agency is a UK Government body responsible for food safety and food hygiene in cafés, restaurants and shops across the UK. It works with local authorities to ensure that food safety regulations are enforced.