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Spilling the beans: How safe is your food? - Essential Living

Spilling the beans: How safe is your food?

Blog London Lifestyle
24.08.21

Ever had a bout of food poisoning or had to take an item back to a supermarket after a recall? We’ve revealed some of the worst supermarket and restaurant offenders when it comes to food quality and hygiene ratings across the UK.

Who has had the most food recalls? And who has had the most reports of food poisoning?

Whether you are visiting your go-to coffee shop or local supermarket, we have the low-down on how safe and hygienic your choice of food shop really is.

SAFEST SUPERMARKETS

We have dug into the data available from the FSA as well as the number of reports by iwaspoisoned.com to find the UK supermarkets with the most food recalls and reports of food poisoning.

The data found that Marks and Spencer had the least recalls and only a small number of reports of poisoning, giving them the title of safest supermarket in our study.

Waitrose was found to have the least number of reports of food poisoning but has had 36 recalls of items in the past year putting them in 3rd place overall. Tesco, on the other hand, came in last place – although they only had 30 recalls of items, they had over 100 reports of food poisoning:

Table of supermarkets showing number of food recalls and poisoning reports.

 

MOST AND LEAST HYGIENIC RESTAURANT-TAKEAWAYS IN THE UK

We analysed 30 of the UK’s most popular restaurant/takeaways to find out which establishments have the highest percentage of 5* hygiene ratings. Tim Hortons, Alchemist, Wagamama and Itsu all scored 100% 5* hygiene across their locations listed in the UK:

Table showing the top 10 takeaways for 5 star hygiene reviews

Costa Coffee scored the lowest percentage of 5* rated hygiene in their locations across the UK, however, both Favourite Chicken and Subway had two locations in the UK that had scored just 1* hygiene:

Table showing the bottom 10 takeaways for 5 star hygiene reviews

THE WORST DISHES FOR FOOD POISONING GLOBALLY

So what dishes are the worst offenders for food poisoning reports overall? Burgers topped the list. The NHS says that most cases of E. coli food poisoning occur after eating undercooked beef – and especially minced beef.

The next spot on the list of dishes with the most food poisoning reports may come as a bit of a shock: the humble salad. This may seem surprising to some as it doesn’t necessarily contain fish or meat, however, poisoning from fresh and bagged salad occurs when it has not been thoroughly washed, this can lead to salmonella poisoning from bugs and bacteria.

Shocked to see pasta in 5th place? What many people do not know is that pasta and rice have a relatively high food poisoning risk due to toxins formed by Bacillus cereus spores – a bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Sounds pretty nasty, right? To avoid falling foul of this, remember that pasta and rice dishes should not be left out on the side or at room temperature:

The top 10 takeaway foods by worldwide food poisoning reports

BEST AND WORST CITIES IN THE UK FOR RESTAURANT-TAKEAWAY FOOD HYGIENE

Based on data from the FSA we have found out the best and worst cities in the UK for food hygiene ratings across their eateries.

As the map shows, Newcastle’s eateries came top as the most hygienic in the UK with over 86% of their eateries scoring the highest hygiene rating possible (5*). Nottingham comes out just behind with 85% of its eateries scoring 5* hygiene, and Belfast comes 3rd in the UK with just under three quarters of its eateries being awarded the top hygiene rating.

How does your city fare?

Map showing the hygiene score for 12 cities in the UK

Of the cities analysed, Cardiff comes bottom in the UK for its hygiene ratings, with just under 60% of its eateries scoring the top hygiene rating. Nearly 5% of their eateries scored 2 or below, out of 5, for hygiene.

Birmingham and London weren’t far behind with many eateries scoring under 2 for hygiene; 10% of Birmingham’s eateries and 6% in London.

METHODOLOGY

Safest Supermarkets
Taking data from the FSA and Iwaspoisoned.com we found out the UK supermarkets with the most recalls from 2018-2021 and reports of food poisonings.

Most Hygienic Restaurants-Takeaways in the UK
Using food ratings provided by the FSA, we looked into the top UK restaurants and takeaways to find which chain has the highest food safety ratings.

The Worst Food Offenders
Using the food poisoning report site iwaspoisoned.com we found the top dishes that people are causing illness the most.

SOURCES

Food Recalls: FSA
Food Ratings: FSA
Food Poisoning Reports: Iwaspoisoned.com
Websites of all supermarkets and eateries in study

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