A POPULAR Isle of Wight pub has been hit with a food hygiene rating of one, demanding major improvement, over cross-contamination and cleanliness concerns.

On April 26, Environmental Health inspectors visited The Vine Inn on School Green Road, Freshwater.

They found there was no comprehensive system in place concerning the shelf life given to high-risk foods.

High risk foods prepared on the premises were being given a long shelf life, and food was also being kept beyond the manufacturers’ use by date.

The report reveals how a single sink in the kitchen was being used for both dirty utensils and equipment, washing raw vegetables, and ready to eat foods such as salads, introducing a risk of cross-contamination.

Inspectors also found the dishwasher in the kitchen was no longer in use, and equipment was being used for both raw and ready-to-eat food without adequate cleaning/disinfecting in between.

At the time of the inspection, a green chopping board was being used to peel raw vegetables such as turnips and potatoes with the latter delivered unwashed and dirty in large sacks.

When asked what board is used for ready to eat foods such as salads, the inspector was advised the same green board was used for that purpose.

Further to this, raw vegetables were being stored and prepared immediately adjacent to the prepped salad items that were uncovered and out for service, and the raw meat preparation work surface, which was small, was also used to store dry items such as herbs, spices and teabags.

Inspectors found prepped salad items were being stored next to the sink, with staff scraping leftovers from customers’ finished meals into an adjacent bin, and the temperature probe, used for monitoring food temperatures, was not being sanitised before/after each measurement.

The report also reveals the standard of cleanliness in the outbuilding was very poor, with many freezers in the area dirty, though no open food was being kept in this area.

The Freshwater business got a total score of 50 and was awarded with a food hygiene rating of one, meaning "major improvement is necessary". 

“Immediately after our first inspection we addressed all the issues,” said Suzanne Keen for the business.

“We have new designated areas for certain tasks, a new dishwasher, probes and wipes, and staff training on our dating systems.

“We’ve also defrosted our freezers, cleaned up the freezer storeroom and installed a new door.

“Some issues that were highlighted we had previously received five stars for.

“We have now put in place procedures on advice to alleviate these issues.

“Our daily diary, cooking and allergen folders were praised, as were other procedures that had always been in place.

“The cleanliness of the kitchen has always been of a high standard, most of the issues have been with procedures, which have now all been updated.

“We now endeavour to maintain high standards throughout the business and will shortly be paying the £250 for a re-inspection to regain our stars, as this is the only way to change our rating within a reasonable time scale.

“My team and I would like to thank our loyal customers for supporting us through this process.”