MEAT and fish stored uncovered in the fridge, a large number of flies and overflowing bins — an Island restaurant has been hit with a one-star food hygiene rating.
A recently released report from Isle of Wight Council inspectors has unveiled the dirty details following a visit to The Breeze, at Island Harbour, which found major improvement was necessary.
The restaurant has been quick to reassure customers, saying all of the issues the council had raised have been fixed.
During the inspection, officers noted the overall level of hygiene was unsatisfactory — with the report listing 14 areas of concern, although the inspector said the list was not exhaustive.
Some areas inspectors raised issues with:
Unclean fridges - the outside fridge was dirty with food debris over the floor;
A bucket of old water with oil/white greasy residue was being stored causing an unpleasant odour in a smaller room off the main kitchen;
The ovens were covered in grease and food debris was noted on the hobs and down the sides.
There was a large number of flies in the kitchen, inspectors said, which were gaining access via the back door as the pest prevention chains had been tied back.
In the outside bin storage area there was an accumulation of boxes, broken chairs, food residue, cigarette butts and general waste to the point the bins were overflowing. Inspectors noted a strong odour.
Inspectors found there was also no system of stock rotation and control in the kitchen.
There were trays of fresh mackerel, cooked fish pies, prawns, meat pies and six trays of cooked chicken pieces that were not labelled and left uncovered in the fridge which did not protect them from physical contamination.
Inspectors also found salmon fillets which had a use-by date of two days before the inspection; raw burgers eight days prior and three tubs of greek yoghurt that should have been used by June 29 — over six weeks out of date. The items were voluntarily disposed of.
High-risk foods, including milk and fresh desserts, were being stored in a fridge with a temperature of 12.6ºC, when it should not be above 8ºC. The food was voluntarily disposed of.
Council inspectors said complaints had been made to them over hygiene issues with the outside areas but they had been addressed as necessary during the inspection.
In the outside fridge, areas of the ceiling were mouldy in places, with uncovered food, including thawing fish, being stored underneath it.
A Breeze spokesperson said the major issue resulting in the rating was regarding its large walk-in fridge which needed minor repairs.
The issues were fixed on the same day and when the inspectors returned on the following day, were said to be satisfied the repairs had solved the problem.
The Breeze has since applied for a re-inspection.
The spokesperson said: "We understand our customers deserve the highest standards and, as one of the most popular restaurants on the Isle of Wight, we will continue to do everything we can to uphold these.
"We would like to reassure patrons they can continue to visit us with confidence.
"We have appointed a new first-class chef and introduced a new menu, using more local produce, so patrons can be sure to receive an excellent and unique dining experience, every time.
"We would like to thank our loyal customers for their ongoing support, and for showing their faith in us, by continuing to make bookings at our extremely busy restaurant."