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News roundup: Business hygiene faux pas

Posted on: Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Any restaurant manager knows that in order to keep customers happy and avoid any unpleasant legal wrangles, drops in productivity or staff sickness, then hygiene must be a major priority.

Failing to observe this simple principle can lead to loss of reputation and ultimately impact a company’s bottom line and its ability to function when as a business.

So why do so many firms still continue to get it wrong?

Consider the latest findings in Ireland for example, which found that the number of complaints about poor food hygiene in the country shot up by 14 per cent last year.

This meant that the total number of complaints stood at 2,738. At least this is according to a report published by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

One of the most common complaints made by customers that visit restaurants and eateries was that their food had been contaminated with foreign objects.

Last year, a significant number of people complained about finding bits of metal, insects and other nasties in their food.

In one particularly gruesome example, a customer had found an animal tooth in their jam, while another got more than he bargained for when he discovered a worm in his chicken nugget!

And if that was not bad enough, one unlucky person got a snail in their pick n’ mix, while a metal screw in a piece of cake did not go down well with one customer.

All of these things are mere examples of the sorts of food hygiene related disasters and things that can be overlooked, when strict protocol, cleanliness and attention-to-detail do not take centre-stage.

Bathroom blues

Filthy washrooms continue to plague many staff members in offices across the UK, according to new findings. Research published by Initial Washroom Hygiene found that more than a fifth of UK employees of small to medium firms are dissatisfied about the state of their workplace bathrooms.

Some 2,000 employees were surveyed by the firm and its research showed that more than half regularly had to wait to use the toilet due to inadequate facilities. When businesses were asked about their washrooms, nearly a third (32 per cent) claimed their business has been negatively affected by low washroom standards. Almost seven minutes a week was wasted as a result of the poor standards. For seven per cent of staff members, morale was impacted negatively, as a result.

Guidelines outlined by the Health and Safety Executive mandate that the number of toilets provided by small businesses should increase in line with the number of staff. Those with more than five employees should have at least two toilets available, increasing to a minimum of five for businesses with 76 to 100 employees.

Speaking about the findings, Dr Peter Barratt,spokesman for Initial Washroom Hygiene  said, “It’s essential for employers to provide their workers with sufficient numbers of toilet facilities, and to ensure that these are clean and well-presented. 
 
“Failure to do so not only ignores their legal duty, but turns a blind eye to the effect that this can have on both employees and customers. A shabby, under-stocked or unavailable washroom can paint a business in a very bad light. The washroom is often the first and last place a customer will see when visiting your office, and as we all know, these first and last impressions count for a lot.”