EIGHT stalls at Bolton Council’s flagship market have been given food hygiene ratings of one or zero out of five, it has emerged.
Market traders have blamed the council — pointing to “chaos” caused by the redevelopment of the indoor market, as well as stringent paperwork demands.
There are 46 stalls on Bolton Market that have been rated, with 17 receiving a score of four or five.
Many stalls, including butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers, have been at the market for decades and some have been told that “major or urgent improvement” is necessary.
But Wayne Mann, a council officer based at the market, laid the blame at the traders’ door, arguing that some leave rubbish strewn all over the floor, while others have refused to adapt to change.
Mr Mann said the situation is currently 70 per cent better than it was during the autumn and attributed the improvement to a new monitoring regime introduced by the council, which sees stalls informally inspected every five weeks.
The council said it was “concerned” by the low ratings, which were recorded following inspections in October and November last year, but said highlighted shortcomings had since been addressed.
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The market — widely hailed as one of Bolton’s chief retail assets — recently opened a new indoor hall and outdoor market after a £4.5 million redevelopment.
MPJ Fish Supplies received a “one” after its November 7 inspection. Owner Michael Evans, who has traded on the market for 35 years, said: “There was rubbish piled up while the renovation work was being done next door and apparently we were punished for that.
“What happens out there has no bearing on what we are doing. The rating gives people the wrong impression.
“There was lots of upheaval when the workmen were coming in and out, and we were trying our best to keep on top of hygiene and paperwork.
“I pay two lads to come in and clean on a Monday and Wednesday, and we have a complete stock turnover every day.”
Tariq Hussain, aged 23, owner of Curry Hut, said he has so far not been given a second inspection and was staggered that his stall was given a “one” after it was inspected on October 18.
He said: “I’ve been working in food for about nine years. I’ve put a new floor in here since I took the business over, and new units, and I was given a one. This stall is spotless.
“I stay here for an hour, an hour-and-a-half after we close every night, wiping all the surfaces, and making sure things are clean.”
Mr Mann, who conducts inspections on behalf of the market, said: “We’ve got a regime now of inspections every five weeks, analysing the stalls in terms of pest control, health and safety and environmental health.
Some of the stall holders are a bit stuck in their ways and a lot of them were not filling in documents and they were being punished for not documenting cleaning regimes.
“The stall holders are used to doing what they want to do but we are running this as a public service, with the council’s name on the market.
“At the end of days there would be rubbish strewn all over the floor because stalls were not using bins — there were simple things that had to be addressed.”
Darren Hamer, of Grundy’s Fish, also said the redevelopment work had contributed to his stall’s “one” rating while the owner of Karl’s butchers said missing off some of the paperwork needed by inspectors meant his business was only given a one.
FS Gittins fishmongers, given a one, and the zero-rated Halal Butchers stall both declined to comment.
Bolton Cut Price Bread and Biscuits, which was given a zero rating on November 21 last year, has since left the market.
A council spokesman said: “At the time of the inspections around three quarters of the businesses scored a satisfactory rating or above and, out of these, a third scored highly.
“However, we take food safety very seriously and we would like to reassure our customers that we took immediate action to resolve the issues that were found.
“Businesses have been since been revisited by environmental health officers who have confirmed that improvements have been made.”
HOW TRADERS RATED ON SCALE OF 0 TO 5
- 0 — Urgent improvement necessary
- 1 — Major improvement necessary
- 2 — Improvement necessary
- 3 — Generally satisfactory
- 4 — Good
- 5 — Very good
Market stalls — most recent hygiene ratings
- Bolton Cut Price Bread and Biscuits — 0
- Wallworks Greengrocery — 0
- Halal Butchers — 0
- MPJ Fish Supplies — 1
- Curry Hut — 1
- Karl’s Butchers — 1
- Grundy's Fish Stall — 1
- F S Gittins fishmongers — 1
- Edward Liptrott — 2
- Toffee Tommys — 2
- Unsworth’s Deli — 2
- Zen’s Spices — 2
- B Carlisle — 3
- Bates Brothers — 3
- Bannister’s — 3
- Bob Inn — 3
- Brown’s Discount Foods — 3
- Choice Cuts — 3
- D L Pilling — 3
- Emporia Cheeses — 3
- Jan’s Butty Box — 3
- Fred Brandwood butchers — 3
- Shamin Akhtar — 3
- Purdon’s Cooked Meats — 3
- Redman’s — 3
- The Salmon Kings — 3
- The Coffee Shop — 3
- Walsh’s Traditional Food Ltd — 3
- North West Meat Markets Ltd — 3
- Christine’s Cheese — 4
- Collier’s — 4
- Freeze Factory — 4
- Lynda’s Bakery — 4
- Lyndel’s — 4
- M Sandiford — 4
- Premium Fish and Poultry — 4
- Strawberry Gardens — 4
- Tina’s Market Cafe — 4
- Cake and Decorate — 5
- Carr’s Pasties Ltd — 5
- Food Demo Unit — 5
- H J Grundy — 5
- John Hool — 5
- The Cosy Cafe — 5
- Greenhalgh’s — 5
- WRVS Tea Bar — 5