Weston-super-Mare’s worst premises for food hygiene in 2016 revealed
PUBLISHED: 16:05 29 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:17 29 March 2017
Animal faeces, rancid food, half-cooked sausages and a blood-stained fridge have been found inside unhygienic Weston cafés, bakers, restaurants and takeaways over the past 12 months.
Customers’ food was seen being prepared next to chemicals at one eatery by inspectors, as the Mercury can reveal four town centre businesses were ordered to make urgent improvements.
Chinese restaurant Hercynian Lodge was slated for a ‘filthy freezer and fridge’, ‘rancid tomatoes’ were found at Camellia Café, evidence of ‘droppings’ were seen at Hills Bakers and Weston Spicy Grill’s food storage was labelled ‘dangerous’ by the council.
All four were given a zero-star rating by North Somerset Council in the latter half of 2016 but Hercynian Lodge and Hills Bakers now meet all necessary standards.
Camellia Café, in St James Street, has closed since it was visited by the food standards team in late September.
Half-cooked sausages, which no-one knew when they had been cooked, were found in the ‘dirty kitchen’. ‘Rancid’ tomatoes were also seen.
The premises was shut for immediate cleaning following the inspection.
Over the road from the café inspectors found ‘slight evidence of droppings’ on the top floor of Hills Bakers in November.
North Somerset Council was impressed with the Hill family’s response to its findings.
Its spokesman said: “The business operator made immediate improvements to the cleaning and employed a pest contractor when no further evidence of any pests were found.”
Owner Graham Hill said immediate action was taken to solve the issue after there was evidence of a mouse in the storeroom.
He said: “Last year we had an issue with the upstairs store room, which has nothing to do with the baking area, and we rectified that.”
Mr Hill said the whole room was gutted and re-plastered within 24 hours to ensure the problem was fixed and says monthly pest control visits have since shown the bakery is free of mice.
He added: “We take all of this very seriously and we rectified this as soon as we could.
“We have been in business for 40 years and never had an issue before.”
The premises were awarded five stars last week following a re-inspection.
The fourth Weston town centre business to be told to make urgent changes was Hercynian Lodge, in Birnbeck Road.
The Chinese restaurant declined to comment when approached, but food standard inspectors said cleanliness standards were very poor throughout when reviewed in November.
Cooked beef and chicken was seen left on the side for four to five hours, dirty tea towels were kept in the kitchen and its ‘filthy fridge and freezer’ were also noted.
Owner Ming Den Lin voluntarily chose to close the restaurant upon the council’s findings until a thorough clean of the premises was carried out.
The council’s spokesman said improvements had been made at Hercynian Lodge.
It has been reassessed recently and received three stars.
Weston Spicy Grill, near the seafront, was visited by inspectors last summer and it was criticised for its lack of food hygiene training.
However, more serious flaws were found, including blood-drip stains within one of the fridges and the kitchen contained ‘rancid food’.
Inspectors reported the premises was dirty throughout and spilled chemicals were near open food.
Since the zero rating, the premises has been taken over and is now called Pier View Café.
New owner Liaqat Ali said he bought the eatery last October and he has worked to make sure hygiene standards are brought up to scratch.