ALARMING figures show that Castle Point food establishments are not meeting hygiene standards.

More than one in eight food businesses are below the required level, new data reveals.

Figures show 62 food establishments across Castle Point had a hygiene rating of two or below, as of 2018 -19.

This means that 12 per cent of food businesses need urgent improvement, which is higher than the national average of 9 per cent.

According to the latest data from the Food Hygiene Standards Agency, written warnings were issued to 157 businesses, out of the 500 total establishments in Castle Point.

Of all the businesses that faced an inspection or assessment, just one was subject to formal action from the or the courts.

Castle Point Council estimates that it employs the equivalent of one point two full-time member of staff who are responsible for managing food hygiene standards.

That works out as two point three employees for every 1,000 businesses, lower than the national average of two point six.

Despite the concerning statistics, a number of restaurants across Castle Point, including The Islanders Fish Restaurant, on Furtherwick Road, got top marks.

Phillip Passera, the director of the restaurant explained how he keeps the high standards up. The forty-seven-year-old, said: “We won an award for our cleaning.

“Everyone knows how to keep the restaurant clean and follow the right procedures.

“We always train our staff to the highest amount.

“Food hygiene should be really important for everyone.

“If every member of staff knows how to keep it clean, it helps a hell of a lot.”

Maria Jennings, director of regulatory compliance of the Food Standards Agency, said: “Council’s are there to ensure that food businesses produce food that is safe and what it says it is.

“One of the FSA’s roles is to have oversight and assurance about their performance.

“It’s good to see an increase in the total percentage of planned hygiene interventions that council’s are carrying out

Castle Point Council were contacted for a comment, but did not take up the offer.