Merry Hill Tim Hortons given two out of five hygiene rating just two months after opening

Tim Hortons in Merry Hill, Brierley has been handed a two out of five hygiene rating despite opening just two months ago, after a child suffered an allergic reaction to food.

The new Tim Hortons at Merry Hill
The new Tim Hortons at Merry Hill

An inspection was carried out at the Tim Hortons store on Station Drive, Merry Hill, Brierley Hill, DY5 1SY, on July 11, and the inspection also investigated the store following a complaint received by a customer that their 18-month-old daughter suffered an allergic reaction despite informing staff that she had a severe nut allergy.

The child suffered an allergic reaction and was taken to hospital shortly after eating food served from the premises.

A full version of the hygiene inspection has been attained via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Dudley Council.

The hygiene report states: "The visit to the premises was to also investigate a complaint that had been received by this department alleging that on Friday, July 8, a customer requested a meal for their 18-month-old daughter. When making the request the member of staff was informed that that the child had a severe nut allergy.

"The child suffered an allergic reaction and was taken to hospital shortly after eating food served from the premises. The complainant stated that upon ordering, no documentation was checked by the member of staff taking the order.

"It has also been brought to our attention that during a previous visit to the premises, the allergen information was requested by the complainant but was not handed over as it was being used by kitchen staff at the time."

Action proposed by the inspector in the report is as follows: "The complaint that this department received regarding a child suffering with an allergic reaction after eating from your premises, has been taken very seriously.

"According to the information on labels and the matrix the meal itself (Timmies Mini Ham & Cheese Melt, fries and fruit shoot) do not contain nuts, so I was concerned that this was due to cross-contamination during food handling/preparation.

"A stop requirement was served at the time of the inspection, instructing you not to serve anyone with an allergy or an intolerance until adequate procedures and controls have been put in place and have been agreed by an officer from this department.

"Following on from the inspection I have been in contact with both the primary authority for Tim Horton’s UK & Ireland Ltd, Slough Borough Council and head office and raised the contraventions noted during the inspection. Both have confirmed that the premises shall not be serving customers with an allergy or intolerance and matters are being rectified with immediate effect."

A spokesperson from Tim Hortons UK & Ireland LTD said in statement: "We take the standards within all our restaurants very seriously and have had all our processes approved by a Primary Care Authority, which all our restaurants adhere to.

"Following the EHO report, we are working with the Primary Care Authority to update some of our documentation. We are confident that upon review on the next visit, our scores will reflect the high standards we implement.

“We were very concerned to hear about this situation. We have been in regular contact with the child’s family and are pleased that they are well and healthy, however we have taken the incident extremely seriously, providing additional training on food safety at Merry Hill and reviewing processes across all our UK sites as a precaution.”

The hygiene inspection checked for three specific areas within the business and they are:

  • Compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures

  • Compliance with structural requirements

  • Confidence in management/control procedures

The damning hygiene report states that staff were not aware of the procedures required for the food safety management system, and that there was no documented procedures in place at the time on inspection relating to allergen management, apart from a small section in the training manual.

It goes on to state that the inspector was informed that no extra steps are taken when an allergen request is made.

The report also states that the 'Food Safety Management System' was emailed to the inspector on July 14, but the procedures did not match some of the practices that they were told were being carried out in the store.

Details of the report can be read below:

"Date and Time of Inspection: 11.7.22 at 10.30am

"Areas Inspected/Audited: Whole of Premises

"Records/documents examined: Allergen matrix, temperature monitoring records for chilled and frozen storage, core cooking and hot holding temperatures and probe calibration records, training manual and records for (blanked in report) and (blanked in report), Rentokil pest records and cleaning methods for some areas.

"Summary of action to be taken by the authority: A Stop Requirement was served at the time of the inspection informing the food business operator that in the opinion of (blanked in report) you did not have the procedures and controls in place to serve safe food to customers with an allergy or intolerance and you were asked to stop this specific service until matters were rectified to the agreement of an officer from this authority.

"The food hygiene rating for your business has been assessed as 2."

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