Drayton Park cafe owner insists: ‘I wasn’t trying to lie about hygiene score’

Veli Narci at his cafe in Drayton Park. Picture: Tom Horton

Veli Narci at his cafe in Drayton Park. Picture: Tom Horton - Credit: Archant

A disgruntled cafe owner recently given a £2,500 bill for displaying an outdated food hygiene rating has defended his actions, insisting: “I wasn’t trying to lie.”

Veli's Cafe showing the '5' food hygiene rating stickers, which were up while the cafe had a '1' rat

Veli's Cafe showing the '5' food hygiene rating stickers, which were up while the cafe had a '1' rating. It now has a '3' rating. - Credit: Archant

“Food Hygiene Rating: 5” was proudly displayed in the front window of Veli’s Cafe in Drayton Park following a 2014 inspection. But owner Veli Narci didn’t update the sign after its subsequent downgrading to 1 in 2015.

He said he tried to appeal the lower rating, and didn’t think he needed to do anything as he claimed he didn’t back from the council. But Islington said it warned him four times about the sticker – in writing and in person – and never actually received any formal requests for a review of the rating.

In October 2016 a fresh inspection upgraded his score to a 3, by which time the rating of 5 was two years old.

“I wasn’t trying to lie – it’s just not something you really think about,” said Veli.


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He says business at the café has remained good despite the controversy.

But he said: “My problem with the council is they don’t tell you when they’re going to come and do an inspection.

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“Say they come in January one year, they don’t tell you that they’re going to come back the following January. They could come in any time,” he said.

“I wasn’t doing anything differently when I had one star to when I had three, so I don’t understand how they’re judging me. And it’s not like I was doing anything really bad – there weren’t mice around.”

Food hygiene ratings are based on scores for hygienic food handling, cleanliness of the building and facilities, and management of food safety.

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