Environmental Health Officers at Epping Forest District Council are advising restaurants to use potatoes if they cannot afford utensils

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Kebab houses get potato tip to prevent poisoning Kebab houses get potato tip to prevent poisoning

Kebab shop owners who can’t afford metal utensils are being advised to use potatoes to remove meat from skewers to prevent food poisoning.

Environmental Health Officers at Epping Forest District Council said they found a 'disturbing' amount of takeways were putting customers at risk by using unhygeinic cloths to prepare shish dishes.

Now they have issued a 'Chip tip' encouraging kebab sellers to use potatoes if their budget does not stretch to metal tongs.

The council's Hasan Erdogan said: “Food straight off the grill or out of the oven is sometimes removed with the aid of a towel but our research showed the material was a potential source of contamination.

“Metal tongs are a much safer alternative but amazingly we also found a potato, peeled, washed and then slit to allow it to slide down the skewer, removes the meat just as well.

“It is cheap, convenient and goes into the recycling afterwards so there is no risk of contamination.”

Environmental Health Officers carried out tests on a variety of towels used by restaurants and takeaways for food preparation last summer.

Desribing the findings "disturbing", Mr Erdogan added: “We found all sorts of contamination. In some instances it could lead to food poisoning. We have a duty to protect public health.

“That sometimes means prosecutions but more often it is a matter of good education and communication. We followed up on our visits after the towel tests and have seen dramatic improvements.”

Manager of Mezesphere in Loughton High road, Siobhan Hatton, says that they have not been approached with the suggestion.

She said: “We use flat Turkish bread to remove meat from sticks.

“The only thing we use potatoes for is chips.

“I don’t think that metal tongs are expensive but we prefer to use the bread because they’re not particularly good with different types of meat.

“We haven’t been told about this but we would never say never.”

Comments (6)

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4:04pm Wed 4 Dec 13

pan says...

If they are to poor to buy utensils then they should not be trading.

This beggars belief and even more so that food standard and hygiene practices such as potato peel instead of tongs are even being considered as offered as alternatives.

Food preparation standards especially in retail outlets is of utmost importance and if star standard ratings are given then it should also include kitchen practices. I would not eat from an outlet that could not afford such basic things and would expect food standards to be protecting consumers from outlets that shouldn't be trading.

I am also not impressed with the attitude of wiping bread down a skewer. If the end of the skewer is cool enough to hold then the bacteria hasn't been killed off and wiping your bread down it is not something I would fancy.

I wont be eating from there.
If they are to poor to buy utensils then they should not be trading. This beggars belief and even more so that food standard and hygiene practices such as potato peel instead of tongs are even being considered as offered as alternatives. Food preparation standards especially in retail outlets is of utmost importance and if star standard ratings are given then it should also include kitchen practices. I would not eat from an outlet that could not afford such basic things and would expect food standards to be protecting consumers from outlets that shouldn't be trading. I am also not impressed with the attitude of wiping bread down a skewer. If the end of the skewer is cool enough to hold then the bacteria hasn't been killed off and wiping your bread down it is not something I would fancy. I wont be eating from there. pan

4:47pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Billy Yerache says...

pan wrote:
If they are to poor to buy utensils then they should not be trading.

This beggars belief and even more so that food standard and hygiene practices such as potato peel instead of tongs are even being considered as offered as alternatives.

Food preparation standards especially in retail outlets is of utmost importance and if star standard ratings are given then it should also include kitchen practices. I would not eat from an outlet that could not afford such basic things and would expect food standards to be protecting consumers from outlets that shouldn't be trading.

I am also not impressed with the attitude of wiping bread down a skewer. If the end of the skewer is cool enough to hold then the bacteria hasn't been killed off and wiping your bread down it is not something I would fancy.

I wont be eating from there.
I totally agree, it is not the kebab houses endangering the lives of the public it is the health inspectors. If they cannot afford to buy a pair of tongs they should not trade.

If the don't pay their gas and electric they will not be able to trade.

Typical pandering to the ethnics in this type of business no doubt and would readily come down on an English cafe like a ton of bricks.

Potato peelings instead of tongs my left foot. Pathetic!
[quote][p][bold]pan[/bold] wrote: If they are to poor to buy utensils then they should not be trading. This beggars belief and even more so that food standard and hygiene practices such as potato peel instead of tongs are even being considered as offered as alternatives. Food preparation standards especially in retail outlets is of utmost importance and if star standard ratings are given then it should also include kitchen practices. I would not eat from an outlet that could not afford such basic things and would expect food standards to be protecting consumers from outlets that shouldn't be trading. I am also not impressed with the attitude of wiping bread down a skewer. If the end of the skewer is cool enough to hold then the bacteria hasn't been killed off and wiping your bread down it is not something I would fancy. I wont be eating from there.[/p][/quote]I totally agree, it is not the kebab houses endangering the lives of the public it is the health inspectors. If they cannot afford to buy a pair of tongs they should not trade. If the don't pay their gas and electric they will not be able to trade. Typical pandering to the ethnics in this type of business no doubt and would readily come down on an English cafe like a ton of bricks. Potato peelings instead of tongs my left foot. Pathetic! Billy Yerache

7:24pm Wed 4 Dec 13

stickmanny says...

Yeah no doubt Cornbeefur, no doubt.
Yeah no doubt Cornbeefur, no doubt. stickmanny

6:52am Thu 5 Dec 13

pan says...

If they cant afford a set of tongs what else are they skimping on?

Chopping boards?

Washing up liquid?

Cleaning products?

Decent ingredients?

One can only imagine the quality of the ingredients and the temptation to sell food for longer than its sell by date.

Did the inspector check other areas of the food hygiene standards and practices in these outlets that can not afford basic utensils?

Actually seeing as the council see's fit to raise this issue to the public they should also be telling us which retail outlets are not conforming to food safety standards and have to serve food aided by makeshift vegetable utensils or they are guilty of protecting the businesses over the consumer.
If they cant afford a set of tongs what else are they skimping on? Chopping boards? Washing up liquid? Cleaning products? Decent ingredients? One can only imagine the quality of the ingredients and the temptation to sell food for longer than its sell by date. Did the inspector check other areas of the food hygiene standards and practices in these outlets that can not afford basic utensils? Actually seeing as the council see's fit to raise this issue to the public they should also be telling us which retail outlets are not conforming to food safety standards and have to serve food aided by makeshift vegetable utensils or they are guilty of protecting the businesses over the consumer. pan

9:16am Fri 6 Dec 13

hursthill says...

This story proves EFDC Enviromental Health Office is not fit for purpose.
As has been pointed out if these "outlets" cannot afford metal tongs, then clearly they can't afford basic hygine needs.
I know of a restaurant in Epping Forest where complaints have been made about rodents by their kitchens, yet they still receive a high hygine rating.
This story proves EFDC Enviromental Health Office is not fit for purpose. As has been pointed out if these "outlets" cannot afford metal tongs, then clearly they can't afford basic hygine needs. I know of a restaurant in Epping Forest where complaints have been made about rodents by their kitchens, yet they still receive a high hygine rating. hursthill

9:49pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Drouga says...

I totally agree this is ridiculous EFDC health officers are definitely not fit for purposes what a bunch of clowns this makes me think twice about them inspecting and scoring food premises as some of these kebab takeaways have 4 and 5 ratings or does that purely depend on the what potato they are using? Next they will be telling them to cut the donner kebab with carrots as they are recyclable, more hygienic and great if they cant afford a real knife. I think someone needs to call in the Food Standards Agency because these clowns clearly haven't got a clue!
I totally agree this is ridiculous EFDC health officers are definitely not fit for purposes what a bunch of clowns this makes me think twice about them inspecting and scoring food premises as some of these kebab takeaways have 4 and 5 ratings or does that purely depend on the what potato they are using? Next they will be telling them to cut the donner kebab with carrots as they are recyclable, more hygienic and great if they cant afford a real knife. I think someone needs to call in the Food Standards Agency because these clowns clearly haven't got a clue! Drouga

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