Juice bar responds after report shares dirty details behind 1* food hygiene rating

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A manager has spoken out after a report revealed details of a popular juice bar’s one-star hygiene rating.

Operations manager Mike Wilson said improvements had been made to Zenerjii in the Cleveland Center after Middlesbrough Council awarded the business a one-star rating in April. The council’s report on the inspection states: “During the visit, the level of hygiene in the premises was not satisfactory as there was a lack of food safety management in the premises.

“It is very concerning that similar breaches have been identified and brought to light following the last inspection of your premises in 2019. With this in mind, I must warn you that if similar conditions are identified during future visits , that authority could consider formal action.”

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However, Mr Wilson said there had been a complete change in ownership of the franchise since the last inspection, so it was no longer run by the same people, although it still operated under the Zenerjii brand. . The council’s report on the inspection found that internal and external surfaces, including the door seals of freezers and refrigerators, and all surfaces of the orange juice machine were dirty.

The cutting board was also worn out which meant it couldn’t be cleaned properly. The inspector also discovered a lack of knowledge about the use of CBD in beverages.

The report adds: “CBD supplements are used in one of the juices and it has been reported that the gastric acid resistant capsules are inserted into the blender to be consumed in the juice. The food handler could not confirm if the product was safe to use in this manner. In addition to this, the food handler was unaware of the warning on the product which specified that it should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Other areas of concern include food containing allergens that was not properly segregated, stored and prepared, a worker was seen eating food in the food preparation area, and food packaging was stored near cleaning products. There were also non-food items, including personal effects and a cart, stored in the food preparation room.

Inspectors found a pile of disused non-food items and equipment in the first-floor store which they asked the juice bar to remove to ensure proper cleaning and so the company could monitor any activity. pests.

The report claimed that there were no solid procedures in place for the effective management of allergens and that one of the workers was unaware of the allergens present in the bubble teas. In addition, the same containers were used for foods containing allergens, which poses a risk of contamination.

There were also no clear written instructions in place to ensure that the risks associated with cross-contamination were properly controlled. Mr Wilson said the company was “really upset” by the 1* rating.

In response, he said an allergy management structure was in place and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan, which takes food safety risks into account, was always up to date. . He added: “Our staff have now received a much higher level of training and qualification in food safety and allergens.”

Mr Wilson shared evidence that at least three of his staff have now achieved a Tier Two food safety award, while other staff have also received additional training. The operations manager says the council visited the juice bar in February and noted ‘significant improvements’ but then had to return in April after an administrative error meant no report was produced.

He added: “Our request for a revisit was granted as we showed Environmental Health that we acted quickly to ensure we are committed to a clean and safe place of business.”

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