Cookstown butchers to appeal food hygiene rating

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A Cookstown butchers is appealing a recent food hygiene rating, which reduced their usual five-star score to an undesirable one-star.

McAtamney’s Traditional Butchers, which has stores in nine locations across Northern Ireland, including Mid Ulster and the North Coast, received the less than desirable rating on May 19.

They are now awaiting a fresh inspection however, after contacting Mid Ulster Council to appeal the decision.

John Apperley from the well-known chain told the Mid Ulster Mail that McAtamney’s Traditional Butchers takes food hygiene standards very seriously and that their priority now is to reclaim their usual five-star status.

Established in 1933, McAtamney’s Traditional Butchers is an award-winning business which has been supplying quality meat for more than 80 years, and until now has had an impeccable record.

“It is of the utmost importance, and a key priority when managing and maintaining the high standards that we have become renowned for across our business,” said Mr Apperley.

“We would like to reassure our customers that McAtamney’s works hard to provide the highest standards of hygiene across all our stores. This is reflected in the current five-star hygiene ratings in place across the rest of our shops.”

Mr Apperley added that the current one-star rating from May related to the state of their food records as opposed to poor hygiene, and that this has since been improved on.

“On May 19, our Cookstown store, which was previously rated five, was inspected and received a food hygiene rating of one,” he said. “This is the first time that a McAtamney’s store has received this rating and it is currently under appeal.

“The area which impacted negatively on the low score was how the food records were being managed and not the cleanliness of the shop.

“We have been working alongside Mid Ulster Council to address their concerns, with measures and management put in place to ensure our Cookstown store retains its usual five-star rating in the coming days.”

Environmental Health confirmed that they intend to do another inspection in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson for the Mid Ulster Council said: “Following an inspection carried out at McAtamney’s Butchers, Cookstown as part of the routine inspection programme, Mid Ulster District Council can confirm that this premise was given a rating of one.

“The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme incorporates safeguards to ensure fairness to businesses, which includes an appeals procedure, a ‘right to reply’ procedure and a mechanism for requesting a re-inspection or re-visit for the purposes of re-rating once improvements have been made.

“A further visit will take place at the premises in the coming weeks.”