A quarter of Rome’s restaurants risk closure over poor hygiene, police warn

Almost half of Rome's restaurants fall foul of food hygiene rules, according to Italy's health police, which has carried out a year-long series of inspections.

A quarter of Rome's restaurants risk closure over poor hygiene, police warn
File photo: Sergio Calleja/Flickr

And in as many as one in four eateries, the situation is so bad that the restaurants are at risk of closure.

Sampling the local food is a highlight of most tourists' stays in the Italian capital, but the figures, which come from Italy's health police and were first reported on Monday in Il Corriere, are enough to put anyone off their pizza.

One osteria reportedly had such a serious infestation that cockroaches had made their way into the cash registers, while meals in a Japanese restaurant were found to contain rodent feces.

Overall, half of the restaurants examined were guilty of some form of “irregularity”, a category which includes infestations along with other problems such as serving food past its use-by date, preserving perishable food incorrectly or storing cleaning products too close to foodstuffs.

Nas, the Italian health police, carried out checks on 727 restaurants, most of them situated in Rome's historic centre, between November 2015 and October this year. This was a particularly popular year with tourists to Rome, as over 18 million pilgrims visited the eternal city to celebrate the Catholic Jubilee year. 

Criminal investigations have opened into 33 people, who may have violated laws regarding safety in the workplace, and a further 300 restaurant owners have been reported to the local health authorities, ASL.

A total of 521 fines, worth €658,000, were issued. Health police also seized large quantities of food; €20,000 worth of oil, 2,300kg of meat products and 2,300kg of fish.




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La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you’ll find in Italy

From Italian podcasts to surprising delicacies and our favourite overlooked travel destinations, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you'll find in Italy

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

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Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]