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Revealed: The four top Islington supermarkets told to improve after inspectors found evidence of mice and cockroaches

PUBLISHED: 11:41 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:55 12 September 2017

These stores were all given hygiene ratings of 2 by the Food Standards Agency. Pictures: Polly Hancock/Ramzy Alwakeel

These stores were all given hygiene ratings of 2 by the Food Standards Agency. Pictures: Polly Hancock/Ramzy Alwakeel

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Four major food stores in Islington were given hygiene ratings below satisfactory after inspectors found evidence of pests, the Gazette can reveal.

Marks and Spencer in Finsbury Pavement was given a hygiene rating of 2. Picture: Polly Hancock Marks and Spencer in Finsbury Pavement was given a hygiene rating of 2. Picture: Polly Hancock

Two Tesco branches, a Marks and Spencer and a Waitrose were the only supermarkets in the borough to have a Food Standards Agency (FSA) score below 3.

Reports obtained by this paper show one of the Tesco branches had cockroaches on the first floor above the shop, while the other three stores all had problems with mice.

Businesses dealing in food are given ratings out of five for their hygiene standards, with zero the worst.

The scores are given based on inspections by food safety officers from Islington Council, who then publish the numbers on the FSA website.

Tesco Express in Seven Sisters Road was given a hygiene rating of 2. Picture: Polly Hancock Tesco Express in Seven Sisters Road was given a hygiene rating of 2. Picture: Polly Hancock

At the moment stores do not have to display their ratings. But this month councils – through the Local Government Association (LGA) – are calling for displaying them to be made compulsory.

The LGA want the move to form part of the post-Brexit legislation. The FSA has said the change is included in its plan for a new model of regulation, which it hopes to present to ministers by 2020.

In Wales and Northern Ireland it is compulsory to display FSA ratings, while in Scotland they must display similar information.

“Mandatory display is part of the FSA’s plans for a new model of regulation but implementation will require legislation,” a spokesman said.

“We want to bring the food hygiene rating scheme in England in line with Wales and Northern Ireland, where the benefits of more visible ratings have already been felt.”

The four Islington branches in question were all given scores of 2 – meaning “improvement is necessary”.

Aside from independent shop Ege Food in Newington Green, which received a zero, all 42 other locations scored higher.

The most recent to be inspected was Waitrose in Highbury Corner, visited in May.

Tesco in Stroud Green Road was given a hygiene rating of 2. Picture: Polly Hancock Tesco in Stroud Green Road was given a hygiene rating of 2. Picture: Polly Hancock

In the report, officers wrote: “Mouse droppings seen in the cupboard where the pump is located in the bakery, underneath the sandwich preparation area. Droppings not seen elsewhere in the bakery.

“Warehouse housekeeping is poor. Very dusty in corners and pipework, wrappings on the floor, small number of mouse droppings near rear door.”

Tesco Stroud Green Road was inspected over two days in January and February. The report said: “Confirmed German cockroach activity in first floor cleaners cupboards. Also reported in first floor staff kitchen.

“Evidence from second visit that activity most likely centred away from customer risk areas. Nevertheless, prompt and sustained action [is] required to ensure problem does not spread.

Little Waitrose in Holloway Road was awarded a food hygiene rating of 2, meaning it 'requires improvement'. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel Little Waitrose in Holloway Road was awarded a food hygiene rating of 2, meaning it 'requires improvement'. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

“There was a large amount of water on the warehouse floor adjacent to the loading bay area. This was reported to have been caused by a defective surface water downpipe/drain.”

Tesco in Seven Sisters Road was last inspected in March last year. The report reads: “Today’s visit was to investigate a complaint of bread bought at your store allegedly damaged by pests, 1x Hovis Seed Sensations bought on March 2, 2016. There was evidence of mice activity throughout the warehouse and bakery (droppings seen).”

Lastly, Marks and Spencer in Finsbury Pavement was inspected in December 2015, and officers said cleaning throughout was good, though more needed to be done to stop mice activity.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: “We’ve taken prompt action to resolve the concerns raised about our Stroud Green Metro and Seven Sisters Road Express stores and are pleased to confirm they now meet our expected standards.

“We expect our ratings to be changed in the near future and we’ll always look to continue improving for our customers.”

A spokesman for Waitrose said: “The rating was from May this year and work was undertaken immediately.

“We take hygiene extremely seriously and we have applied to be re-assessed at their earliest opportunity.”

An M&S spokeswoman said: “We take health and safety extremely seriously. We have made significant improvements at our Finsbury Pavement store over the past two years and worked closely with the local authority to ensure they approve of the changes made.”

To check FSA ratings for any business, visit ratings.food.gov.uk.

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