Popular ethnic restaurants, catering companies, sushi shops and butchers are among nearly 90 Auckland eateries with below par food hygiene.
Of the 8,300 food premises in the Auckland Council boundary, 89 eateries had either D or E food grades as of May 30, according to information supplied to the Weekend Herald.
An establishment graded D is considered to be of "poor" standard and E is "unsatisfactory". There were 24 E-grade eateries and 67 D grade.
The most common causes include pest infestation, poor food hygiene, poor food storage, incorrect food handling and cleaning practices, a council spokeswoman said.
She said overall the council was pleased with the number of below-standard operators, with "99 per cent of our operators ... abiding by the food safety requirements".
Popular Ponsonby Rd Japanese restaurant Genji and Spicy House, a Chinese restaurant on Dominion Rd, were two which were given D grades. Staff declined to comment last night.
West City Halal Meats spokesman Muhammed Ali said the butchery got an E because the inspector arrived while they were preparing meat.
"It was wrong time, wrong place," he said.
"Our preparation area was in a mess at the time because there was blood and things on the floor.
"They were saying the meat should be covered in the fridge and the floor needs to be clean."
He said the business had since amended its processes to comply.
Catering Masters NZ and Indian Party Hire director Manar Hansen said the Mt Roskill company earned its D grade after a chance visit by a health inspector found flies on some chicken, lamb and goat curries in a food warmer.
"We had an issue with food that was left out in the food warmer and it's just that it had been left out," she said. A new staff member had turned off the warmer and forgot to switch it back on, she said.
"The food inspector walked in and flies were sitting on the food. We have been open 17 years and never had anything but an A [food grade], it was a really disgusting shock to the system."
Jenny Yang, who owns Hollywood Bakery* on Great North Rd in Avondale, said her store had an E grade because she stored goods in front of the fire exit.
"I put something at the back of the fire exit and maybe somebody complained," she said.
"I have cleaned up everything now ... to set up the counter with a new food grade soon.
"Everything is fine now."
The owner of Sushi-Ko in Onehunga, William Bae, said he had already remedied all the issues that earned his store an E grade. He had installed a new wall and toilet door, and had removed unsatisfactory trays from the establishment.
There are four grades — A, B, D or E. There is no C because an eatery should be clearly above or below standards.
Eateries were subject to one random inspection annually, when council environmental health officers administer grades according to criteria set out under the Food Hygiene Regulations by-law.
Establishments are graded on overall hygiene standards, conduct and maintenance, process control, cleaning and sanitising and staff training and premises that did not address issues could face prosecution.
Last week, owners of the Golden Tulip Restaurant on Dominion Rd were fined almost $4,000 after cockroaches, the use of mouldy curry paste and inadequate food protection were discovered there in February.
*Clarification - Hollywood Bakery
We would like to clarify for the benefit of our readers that the "Hollywood Bakery" referred to in that report is an independent bakery which is not part of the Hollywood Bakery Café Franchise or connected with that franchise, and is not the Hollywood Bakery Café located at 624 Rosebank Road, Avondale, which has an A food grade.