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

Operations manager Mike Wilson said improvements had been made at Zenerjii in the Cleveland Centre after Middlesbrough Council slapped a one-star rating on the business in April.

The council report about the inspection states: “During the visit, the standard of hygiene in the premises was unsatisfactory in that there was a lack of food safety management within the premises.

“It is of great concern to find that similar contraventions were identified and highlighted following the last inspection of your premises in 2019. With this in mind, I must warn you that should similar conditions be identified during future visits this authority may consider formal action.”

However, Mr Wilson said there had been a complete change of the franchise’s owner since the last inspection so it was no longer run by the same people, even though it still operates under the Zenerjii brand.

Read more: Middlesbrough's Zenerjii juice bar handed one-star hygiene rating

The council report on the inspection found the internal and external surfaces, including door seals of freezers and refrigerators, and all surfaces of the orange juice machine were dirty.

The chopping board was also worn which means that it could not be adequately cleaned.

The inspector also discovered a lack of knowledge about the use of CBD in drinks.
The report adds: “CBD supplements are used within one of the juices and it was reported that the gastric acid-resistant capsules are inserted into the blender to be consumed within the juice.

The food handler could not confirm if the product was safe to be used in this way. In addition to this, the food handler was not aware of the warning on the product that specified that they should not be used during pregnancy and lactation.”

Other areas of concern include food containing allergens was not properly segregated, stored and prepared, a worker was seen eating food within the food preparation area and food packaging was stored near to cleaning materials.

There were also non-food items, including personal belongings and a trolley, stored in the food prep room.

Inspectors found a bunch of non-food items and disused equipment in the first-floor store room which they instructed the juice bar to remove to ensure proper cleaning and so the business could monitor any pest activity.

The report claimed that there are no robust procedures in place for the effective management of allergens and one of the workers was not aware of the allergens present in the bubble teas. Also, the same containers were used for foods that contained allergens, which poses a risk of contamination.

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

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

Mr Wilson shared proof that at least three of his staff have now achieved a level two safer food handler award for food safety while other staff have also received further training.

The operations manager claims the council visited the juice bar in February and noted “significant improvements” but then needed to visit again in April after an administration error meant no report was produced.

He went on to add: “Our application for a revisit has been accepted as we have shown environmental health that we have moved swiftly to ensure we are dedicated to ensuring a clean and safe place of business.”

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