Council cock-up gives Corby Chinese takeaway a bad name

Potential customers at a Corby Chinese takeaway were wrongly led to believe it had the worst hygiene rating possible - because of a council's blunder during a training exercise.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 9:47 am

Lucky House in Studfall Avenue was falsely given zero out of five in a rating by Corby Council, which said the takeaway had to make urgent improvements to its hygienic food handling.

The shocking score was widely available on the Food Standards Agency website as well as being published on Scores On The Doors and a Facebook page called Corby Food Hygiene, with the rating shared to thousands of people.

It said the rating came after an inspection in October - but it was only after enquiries by the Northants Telegraph that it was revealed that inspection simply didn't take place

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Lucky House in Studfall Avenue.

When we asked the council to release the zero-star report under Freedom of Information laws, they said they didn't have a copy but that they were confident it had taken place.

We challenged how they could be confident the zero-star rating was correct without any record of the inspection, only for the council to then admit the October inspection didn't happen.

In fact, the takeaway's true rating is four out of five after an inspection in September.

Officers at Corby Council admitted that a ‘ghost’ inspection - with a score of zero - was inserted onto their database in October during a training exercise and should have been deleted to prevent it from being published. But staff failed to do so, meaning the erroneous data was uploaded and anyone checking out the takeaway's hygiene score saw the false rating.

The 'zero' score was only changed in the past week.

Lucky House owner Chi Chan said: "We have been in Corby for more than 30 years and this has never happened before.

"We had people coming in and asking about the zero and showing it to us on their phone but it never happened. They would have shut us down if it had."

Mr Chan said his takings had been down in the last month but said he couldn't tell whether it was because of the false rating or because of the season.

A Corby Council spokesman said: "We will acknowledge and apologise for this mistake to the food business owner when we re-visit later this month."