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This is why Hutchinson’s Wholesale in Sunderland was awarded a zero star food hygiene rating by safety officers

A report has detailed the reasons why a Sunderland wholesale store was given a food hygiene rating of zero following an inspection by food safety officers.

Monday, 30th May 2022, 9:18 am

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A food safety inspector from Sunderland City Council carried out an assessment at Hutchinson’s Wholesale, on Chester Road, on Tuesday, March 8.

As a result of the visit, the environmental health officer judged the venue to have a zero star food hygiene rating.

Hutchinson's Wholesale was given a zero star food hygiene rating when it was inspected in March.

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When carrying out an assessment, inspectors look at three main areas that include hygienic food handling, management of food safety along with cleanliness and condition of facilities and building.

This is what the environmental health officer found when inspecting Hutchinson’s Wholesale on March 8, 2022.

Butchery area needs improving

The inspector noted that the hand wash basin in the butchery area was not in regular use and highlighted in their report the importance for all staff to follow regulations on this prior to starting or returning to work.

The basin was also being used to store a plastic container however it should be kept empty, clean and available for use at all times for washing hands only.

It was also pointed out that there was a risk of cross contamination due to the use of gloves in the butchery being unhygienic.

The inspector said that “hands should always be washed thoroughly before putting gloves on and after taking them off. Gloves should be disposable and should always be changed between different tasks, and also at every break and when gloves become damaged”.

It was highlighted that there was no sanitiser available for use at the time of the visit, meaning that work surfaces and equipment were not being adequately disinfected.

The safety officer flagged that a bleach-based product had been obtained by staff however it is not appropriate for surfaces in contact with food.

A toilet opens directly into a food storage area

The report states that the ground floor lavatory opened directly into the fruit and vegetable storage area, where food was being handled.

The officer said: “Toilets must not open directly into a room where food is handled and prepared. Arrangements must be made to install a lobby between the toilet and the food room.”

Management have been told that if the construction of the lobby cannot be completed, then the toilet needs to be removed and the drain capped off to prevent smells and access to vermin.

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Inadequate food storage

It was reported that food was being stored on the floor in the first-floor hallways, making it difficult to carry out cleaning and to check for pest activity.

In the storage rooms, bare wood was being used on the floor and for shelving.

The safety officer commented: “This is not easy to keep clean or disinfected. All surfaces in rooms where food is stored or handled should be made of smooth, washable and non-toxic materials. Unsealed wood is not suitable.”