Motorists planning a Bank Holiday trip may want to think carefully about which motorway service stations they use after analysis found 10 locations have food outlets failing to achieve “good” hygiene standards - including Peterborough.
Inspection reports released following Freedom of Information (FoI) requests by the Press Association revealed that problems include meatballs at a Subway not being kept warm enough and the risk of E. coli at a branch of the healthy eating chain Tossed.
Both companies said the issues raised by the inspectors in June last year have since been dealt with.
The worst performing eatery outside London and the South East is at Peterborough services where an El Mexicana scored just two in September last year.
El Mexicana, at the same location, was rated just one out of five in October 2015 - meaning “major improvement necessary”.
A spokeswoman for El Mexicana said: “The issues raised were very specific towards particular staff actions, both of which have been addressed. We expect the urgent requested re-visit to reflect a score consistent with our normal exemplary hygiene star rating.”
Andrew Long, chief executive of Extra Motorway Service Area Group, which is the landlord owner of Baldock, Beaconsfield, Cobham and Peterborough services, said the company’s tenants are responsible for maintaining standards.
He said: “If Extra becomes aware of any matter where the tenant is not operating to the required standards, then Extra takes appropriate action to ensure that the respective tenant does quickly address any shortfall in their own operating standards.”
Mr Long added that the reasons behind the “less than acceptable” ratings at its services have been addressed by the tenants.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says a rating of four must be achieved for a food outlet to be classed as having “good” hygiene.
Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: “Frankly the nation’s 37 million motorists have enough to worry about without adding food hygiene to the list.
“Motorway services are key to using the network safely, providing refuelling facilities for vehicles and travellers alike. We need them to be up to standard.”
Food hygiene expert Sylvia Anderson commented: “Motorists should use the FSA’s scoring to determine whether they eat in that establishment.
“Typically, if they are scoring below three then it is not worth the risk especially for families with young children.”