Auckland restaurant hit hard after hygiene rating error

NZ Herald Staff,
Publish Date
Monday, 5 March 2018, 4:49PM
Restaurant owner Peter Chun is angry that his restaurant Yi Pin Xiang was originally mistakenly given a D food hygiene rating by Auckland Council. (Photo / Doug Sherring)
Restaurant owner Peter Chun is angry that his restaurant Yi Pin Xiang was originally mistakenly given a D food hygiene rating by Auckland Council. (Photo / Doug Sherring)

A restaurant owner whose A-grade restaurant was given a D food grade rating in error by Auckland Council says his business has been severely affected.

Restaurateur Peter Chun, owner of Yi Pin Xiang Shanghainese Restaurant in Howick, said business was down at least 30 percent and he continues to get cancellations.

"Food hygiene is important to many people, so they do take the trouble to look it up online," Chun said.

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Despite having the correct A grading now issued by council, Chun said, some Chinese language online sites still show the restaurant as having a D-grade.

"My worry is not just about financial losses, but about our reputation," said Chun, who has owned the business since 2014.

"I am now displaying multiple copies of the A-grade at the restaurant, but some people are saying on Chinese social media sites that I am just trying to fake it."

Auckland Council has apologised for issuing several A-grade restaurants with D food grade ratings.

But the Restaurant Association says being sorry is not enough when mistakes result in financial losses.

Two restaurants, and possibly another, were mistakenly given poor ratings due to a system error.

"If an incorrect grading has been issued I would say the impact on the business would be significant and would ultimately lead to loss of business for the owner," said Marisa Bidois, the association chief executive.

"Mistakes happen and we understand that but if the mistake has significant financial impact on a business, in our opinion an apology may not suffice in this case."

The council last month said 25 Auckland eateries have been given D or E ratings, with those on the worst ratings being made to close down until they fix the problem.

Reasons for the ratings include poor pest control, cleaning, cooking processes and food storage.

Businesses which have been given a D rating would be reinspected within two months of the grading.

However, the council has accepted that it had this month wrongly graded at least two restaurants, and the Herald understands there may be a third.

"Auckland Council in early February inspected two businesses in Meadowland [in Somerville, east Auckland] that had previously been given D grades," said Mervyn Chetty, manager environmental health, Auckland Council.

"Unfortunately D grade certificates were sent to these businesses in error, as our system was not updated with the new grades in time."

Chetty said replacement certificates with the correct grades were sent out to the restaurants as soon as the council was made aware of this error.

"We apologise to the businesses for our error and we will be taking steps to minimise the chance of this happening again in the future," added Chetty.

There are about 8900 eateries in Auckland and the council issues four grades - A, B, D or E.

There is no C grade because should either be above or below the standard.

Businesses with E-grade rating were subject to more frequent inspections once they reopened.

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