Jamie Oliver’s butcher’s shop was forced to temporarily close after public health inspectors found serious hygiene problems, including mouse droppings and mouldy carcasses.
The chef’s shop - Barbecoa, which supplies its expensive upstairs restaurant with meat - closed its doors for 24 hours after public health officers rated it only one out of five in January, with inspection notes reading “major improvement necessary”. The branch is located near St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Read our Barbecoa review
The assessment found a “heavy presence” of mouse droppings; out-of-date oxtail, onglet, Spanish pork, marrow bone and wagyu beef; hanging carcasses with mould growing on them; and dirty slicers and vacuum packers, according to a Times report. Deboned chicken breasts had been deboned from their box, then vacuum packed and relabelled with a date set for a week later.
Inspectors also found unclean fridge door handles, inadequate staff washing facilities, poor lighting and damaged flooring. The butcher’s was one of 19 out of 1,659 food outlets in the City of London to receive an “A hazardous” rating from the City of London Corporation - A being the worst on the A – E scale.
The shop closed voluntarily after the inspection in January but the company said that the mould discovered on the carcasses did not make the meat “unfit for human consumption”. The restaurant said that the mould occurs as part of a dry-aging process, which can take up to 70 days.
“The longer the meat dry-ages, the more the mould occurs,” a spokesperson for the restaurant said. “This is a natural process and is safe to eat.”
A representative for the Jamie Oliver group said that the issues were swiftly dealt with.
“Following the environmental health inspection in January, we took the immediate decision to voluntarily close the butchery for several hours in order to urgently address the issues raised,” the spokesperson told The Times.
“We reopened within 24 hours and officers noted that the improvements had been made. Issues such as this are extremely rare within the JO Restaurant Group and are treated with the utmost severity.”
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