TEN food outlets with the worst food hygiene ratings have been named by Swindon Council.

The council decided to highlight the “zero star” premises as part of its ongoing Scores on Doors campaign — which aims to give the public a better idea of conditions in places where they are eating.

Businesses among the 10 include two kebab takeaways, a farm kitchen, two Chinese restaurants, a catering department, two convenience stores, a Mexican restaurant and a hotel.

The 10 businesses, which account for four per cent of the borough’s food outlets, were given zero stars out of a six star rating system.

According to the council a zero star indicates unacceptable hygiene conditions, almost total non-compliance with statutory obligations and the likelihood of poor hygiene, poor cleaning and the risk of cross contamination.

Zero star outlets face up to four inspections per year, and are served with hygiene improvement notices.

Certificates showing the zero star rating are also handed out by the council, but the businesses are under no obligation to display them publicly.

In the most serious cases of poor food hygiene the council has the authority to use enforcement notices and emergency closure powers.

Phil Thomas, head of regulatory services at the council, said: “These inspections are important as they help keep consumers safe and give them confidence they are eating from a safe environment.

“There have been 10 zero stars given in the last eight months which shows the severity of what it’s like.”

Scores on the Doors was introduced in April 2007, and every year more than 400 Swindon food outlets are inspected.

Louise Doughty, Swindon Council’s safety food officer, said: “We are looking for a number of issues that include staff training, food hygiene, structural hygiene, temperature control, the process of re-heating, pest control and waste practice.

“We want to be sure safe practices are being put into place to make sure there is no risk to the public.”

Mrs Doughty could not discuss individual cases but said that if any of the zero star premises had shown an imminent danger to health they would have been subject to immediate enforcement action.

Councillor Colin Lovell, cabinet member for a safer and stronger borough, said: "The majority of Swindon food businesses do comply with the law and many are very good indeed.

“Unfortunately a small minority have been shown to have very poor standards during the unannounced inspections.

“Star ratings will hopefully give the public more confidence in the places they eat and give them a better understanding of the standards of food hygiene.

“Hopefully this scheme will encourage businesses to maintain a good standard.”

Ten zero rated outlets

Hythe Road Stores in Hythe Road, Old Town
No-one was available to comment.

Lower Shaw Farm in Old Shaw Lane, Shaw
Andrea Hirsch, project coordinator of Lower Shaw Farm, said: “There were issues connected with an old farm house kitchen. We have had an upgrade since then and been given a clean bill of health.”

La Casa in Devizes Road, Old Town
A spokesman for La Casa said: “A number of improvements have been made since our inspection three months ago. Come December we expect to pass our next inspection with flying colours.”

Princetons Grill in Market Street, town centre
No-one was available to comment.

M Nawaz Food Store in Broad Street, town centre
“No comment” was given when contacted by the Adver yesterday.

Oriental Express in Clive Parade, Pinehurst
No-one was available to comment.

Cosmo Restaurant in Linden Court, Holbrook Way, town centre
No-one was available to comment.

UK Leisurewear in Westmead Drive, West Swindon
Sarah Kamphaug, the human resources manager, said: “This was a staffing issue and we have since made changes to the staff on the basis of this.”

Walcot Kebab & Pizzeria in Sussex Square, Walcot
No-one was available to comment.

Ivy Hotel in Moormead Road, Wroughton
Proprietor Darius Keynejad said: “We are really disappointed, as we serve hundreds of people every week and they are all really happy. “We have never had anything like this before. It is a big shock. All of the issues are minor and we are addressing them straight away.”