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Food: Lots on our plate

Food: Lots on our plate

March 10, 2017
Biltong at Limpopo Butchers in Acton

Ealing is a diverse borough and home to people from all over the world. The 3,178 food businesses that operate in it are no less varied – and the council’s food safety team works with a huge range of cuisines and companies.

Local foodies might be interested to know that some of their favourite delicacies are made right here in Ealing.

Food manufacturers of all sizes have set up shop here and many of their products end up on supermarket shelves across the country.

Nationally, all businesses that serve food have to be inspected. This includes corner shops, factories, school kitchens and supermarkets, as well as restaurants and takeaways – and even Ealing Hospital.

The borough is also home to makers of speciality food and the council’s food safety officers work closely with them to help them to keep their premises and products in line with regulations to make sure they are safe for customers.

The council can also provide hygiene and standards advice to new food businesses opening in the borough to get them on a sound footing.

These good relationships seem to be working.

ONE THIRD ARE ‘TOP RATED’

Ealing is a hardworking borough and the council’s food safety team carries out a lot of inspections. One third of our food businesses were given the maximum rating of five out of five at their last inspection and 82% received three or above (which means they are compliant or broadly compliant with all the regulations). Further good news is that 44% of local food businesses went on to improve their hygiene rating after their last inspection, following advice from the council team. This compares to 28% nationally.

Of the more than 3,000 companies, 26% are shops and off-licences serving residents; 14% are manufacturers, distributors or importers; and 60%

Limpopo Butchers in Acton is one of the borough's 53 'approved premises' and sells speciality meats such as biltong
Limpopo Butchers in Acton is one of the borough’s 53 ‘approved premises’ and sells speciality meats such as biltong

are restaurants, cafes and catering firms Amongst these are what are called ‘approved premises’ – companies handling, preparing or producing products of animal origin on a large scale, and often specialists in their field. In Ealing these could include manufacturers of anything from sushi to African-style beef.

They have to be approved to be able to operate – and this approval can be suspended or removed if they do not meet strict standards.

There are 53 approved premises in Ealing – the second highest number in London, and the joint sixth highest in the UK, which shows just how busy the council’s food team is.

FROM AFRICA TO ACTON

One of these approved firms is Acton speciality butcher, Limpopo Butchers.

It produces meat products to sell to wholesalers but also sells its products in a shop in Horn Lane (and also online).
It sells a variety of South African meat specialities, including Boerewors sausages and a delicacy called biltong.

Biltong is marinated, seasoned and air-dried and is one of the South Africa’s best known foodstuffs.

Sebastian, operations manager of Limpopo Butchers, said: “We source premium, grass-fed beef from the UK and everything from there is done inhouse from start to finish.

“We have a good relationship with the council, and we are in constant contact – it is always open to take my calls when I want to check something. The council is always more than helpful. It could be we have new systems in place or we are making a change to the building and they will always guide us and provide constructive advice on how we can make sure we do everything correctly. By making the council aware of any changes we are planning it means they can help make sure we get things right first time. It is a partnership that has worked very well.”

For more information on Limpopo Butchers and what it has to offer, go to www.limpopobiltong.com or visit the shop in Horn Lane.

What’s the score?

It is easy to check how safe a food business is. Go to www.food.gov.uk/ratings and search by the name or address for the most recent hygiene rating. All food businesses can be checked including shops, takeaways, restaurants, school kitchens, bakeries and caterers.

Anyone with concerns regarding a food business should contact the council on 020 8825 6666 or email foodsafety@ealing.gov.uk