Yo! Sushi has insisted that food-safety regulations are a "top priority" after a media report suggested the restaurant chain was failing to meet basic legal hygiene standards.
A report in the Independent newspaper analysed nearly 1,300 restaurants run by 10 of the UK's largest restaurant chains and revealed that each of them had at least one branch that did not comply with food-safety legislation.
The report found Yo! Sushi to be the worst offender, with eight of its 23 restaurants in the sample receiving a two-star rating or less, amounting to less than the legal requirements onfood hygiene.
However, Yo! Sushi has defended its food-safety policy, saying that as a business it took hygiene very seriously.
In a statement it said: "We train all 1,000 employees in food hygiene to a higher standard than required by law and employ a full-time food safety and hygiene manager.
"We conduct quarterly hygiene and food safety audits at all of our restaurants and any restaurants that do not meet robust criteria are given an immediate action plan and are revisited within six weeks."
Yo! Sushi added that it had worked with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on its "scores on the doors" scheme but had concerns about the system.
"We fully support local authorities in their role to improve food safety and believe that scores on the doors is a positive step towards driving up standards and consistency," the company said. "However, we do have concerns about the consistency of the inspections and in particular how quickly the scores are updated after the inspection has been carried out."
PizzaExpress, which was also singled out for criticism in the article, said in a statement: "About a third of our restaurants were included in the survey where the vast majority scored three stars or more.
"In the event that a restaurant receives a poor visit, the team will immediately focus on addressing the situation and putting things right. The changes might not be reflected in the star rating until the next EHO visit which could be up to two years later."
The FSA is currently in a 12-week consultation on a nationwide scores on the doors system.
By Kerstin Kühn
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