A north London café must pay out thousands of pounds after it falsely claimed to have a top food hygiene rating when its actual rating was much lower.
Veli’s Café, opposite Arsenal’s Emirates stadium, was caught by council inspectors who found the café had put up incorrect food hygiene rating stickers on its front door.
The two misleading stickers said the Highbury café was rated five – the highest possible ranking – but their actual rating was one, meaning “much improvement necessary”.
The café, in a row of shops on Drayton Park opposite the football stadium entrance, was taken to court and has been landed with a bill of nearly £2,500.
It had previously been rated five but was downgraded four levels in July 2015. The café’s current hygiene rating is three following an inspection in October last year.
Kinal Ltd, the company trading as the café, was fined £1,500 for two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
It must also pay costs of £896 and a £75 victim surcharge, Highbury Magistrates Court heard.
Islington Council is now urging other food businesses to check their own signs to avoid a similar fate. It is not compulsory to display hygiene ratings but recommended.
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for finance, community safety and performance, said: “It’s important residents and visitors know where they can expect good food hygiene, and have confidence in the food hygiene rating system.
“We urge businesses to make sure they are displaying the correct food hygiene rating – we will take action where the rating displayed is higher than a business’s actual rating.
“If businesses are not sure how food hygiene ratings work or what they need to do, they can look at the Food Standards Agency website for help and advice, or contact our Environmental Health commercial team.”