All food outlets measure up - bar one

All of Palmerston North's food outlets have been given an A or B grading by the city council - apart from one.

Double Happy Takeaway in Main St is the one exception, after scoring a D and a five-day shut-down in September to improve its standards.

"We could not guarantee the food would be safe," said principal health protection officer Pita Kinaston at the time.

Council staff called on support from MidCentral Health health protection officers working under the Food Act to force the temporary closure.

But Mr Kinaston said he was confident the takeaway bar had cleaned up and would achieve a B if it applied for a regrading.

"They improved after the period of closure, and did tidy up their act.

"They were given a chance for a regrading, but chose not to do that, which they are entitled to do."

A spokesman at Double Happy said he believed the outlet had done everything right.

"We have done all our jobs and hope we can get a B," he said.

Apart from Double Happy, city food outlets have maintained last year's clean record, when there were no D gradings issued.

The last D was handed out to the Central Pie and Smoke Shop in Fitzherbert Ave, which was quickly upgraded to a B after Naked Pie Man Leighton Haar renewed his food-handling certificate.

There were five Ds and one E in 2009, down from 12, 15 and 49 in previous years.

Mr Kinaston said of the 401 outlets graded this year, 361 received As, and 40 received Bs.

A further 19 premises are not graded, including the recently-opened Wendy's and Carls Jr Premises that have been open less than two months, or that have had a change of ownership, make up the ungraded list.

Mr Kinaston said the high gradings reflected his overall impression of the standards practised by the city's restaurants and takeaways.

"Food premises in Palmerston North are of a high standard."

He said a grading system like Palmerston North's had not been used in his previous local authority experience.

"But I would say the standard here is better.

"Everyone wants to be one step ahead of the competitors, and having good food hygiene standards does not really cost you much.

"It's very pleasing."

Manawatu Standard