Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: one in 20 restaurants failing health inspections

The news, reviews and trends from October 5-6, including how soy linked to deforestation is making its way into supermarket supply chains.

6 October 2019
food wastehealthplasticrestaurant openingrestaurantssupermarketssustainability

Food news

One in 20 UK restaurants failing health inspections

Around 13,000 restaurants in the UK have been given a failing rating by the Food Standards Agency, including some branches of Pizza Hut and a Marco Pierre White restaurant, according to an investigation by The Times. The paper advocates for restaurants in England to be forced to display their hygiene rating in the window, as is the law in Wales and Northern Ireland. The investigation also revealed that one in eight restaurants on Just Eat is failing inspection, while more than 500 with a zero or one rating (out of a possible five) were trading on Deliveroo and Uber Eats last month.


Unsustainable soya supply

A Guardian investigation has found that Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and M&S are likely to have soya linked to deforestation in their supply chains. Due to the lack of traceability surrounding soybeans from Argentina, it is impossible to know whether unsustainably grown ones have ended up in animal feed used on British farms, which supply the nation’s major supermarkets.

image credit: Getty Images

Could sugar alternatives have unhealthy side effects?

A number of British scientists have spoken to The Telegraph about what they see as overly permissible European Food Safety Agency standards, which are allowing potentially dangerous additives to be used in food, including widely used sweetener aspartame.  


Reuse instead of recycle

A new report from Greenpeace suggests that using cutlery made from wood or bioplastics could be doing more harm than good to the environment. Instead of swapping one form of disposable item for another, the organisation has urged supermarkets and cafes to offer more reuse and refill options.


Flexing your mussels

A small-scale study at the University of Stirling has found that increased consumption of mussels leads to higher levels of omega-3 – a nutrient that can help heart health.

image credit: Getty Images

Food trends

Fin to fill

Fish tongues, liver and offal are on the menu at some of London’s most fashionable restaurants, as chefs increasingly encourage ‘fin to gill’ eating, in an effort to cut back on food waste. Food Spark has previously noted that fish sperm has been mooted as a tasty ingredient – one that The Telegraph quotes Charlie Taylor, head chef at Alyn Williams at The Westbury, as praising.


Got your goat

The Independent is bleating about Goatober, which takes place this month and aims to encourage the consumption of billy goats. As Food Spark has previously noted, these are often slaughtered at birth because they don’t produce milk, but a number of restaurants are encouraging a less wasteful tack.

image credit: Getty Images

Food reviews

Moor Hall, Lancashire L39 6RT

Though he deplores the pomposity of the experience, Jay Rayner still has plenty of praise for chef Mark Birchall’s food, which includes the “smoothest of whipped cod’s roe, under a sheen of punchy chicken jelly, dotted with shimmering pearls of caviar.” Among other highlights is a “charcoal-black crisp pouch containing a liquid centre of black pudding” and “80-day aged beef, with the sultry funk of barbecued celeriac and a dollop of mustard.”


Bubala, London E1 6BD

Following in the footsteps of places like Ottolenghi and The Barbary, this Middle Eastern-influenced joint serves up all-vegetarian fare. From aubergine with date syrup, zhoug, green chilli and coriander, to latkes served with Aleppo pepper and toum (garlic sauce), Marina O’Loughlin enters a world of fragrant spices.

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