Filthy containers, dirty cloths and unfit food – how independent Brighton supermarket flunked hygiene inspection

Posted On 20 Jan 2023 at 3:13 pm


Hygiene inspectors found filthy containers and unfit food at a popular independent supermarket during a routine inspection.

Taj, in Western Road, was given zero stars and told to make urgent improvements after inspectors visited it in September.

This week, Brighton and Hove City Council released the full report in response to a freedom of information request from Brighton and Hove News.

It detailed a catalogue of serious failings in the kitchen, butcher and deli areas of the store.

These included

  • No disinfectant in the kitchen or deli
  • Inadequate hand-washing facilities in the kitchen and butcher
  • Filthy food containers in the kitchen and walk-in fridge
  • Dirty cloths in the kitchen and deli
  • Dirty chopping boards, knives and utensils
  • Deli display fridge and back of shop freezer too warm
  • A colander of raw lamb placed on top of a box of packet food
  • Inadequate reheating of deli food
  • Poor understanding of allergen cross-contamination, with gluten-free items put in a fryer with gluten dishes etc
  • Mouldy lettuce and out of date hummus stored in a deli fridge and not marked “do not use”

The report, dated Wednesday 5 October, also raised concerns about a bandsaw in the butchers area and dangling electrical cables in the basement.

It said: “Many of the large food containers in the kitchen and in the walk-in chiller were filthy.

“Chopping boards, knives and other utensils placed in the rack and in the deli area ready for use were very dirty.

“Not only does this indicate a very poor standard of hygiene, the dirt and harmful bacteria on the food containers can get into the food and on to the hands of food handlers touching them.

“The temperature of some of the high-risk food stored in the deli display refrigerator was too high. These foods are likely to support the growth of food poisoning bacteria or the formation of toxins and must not be stored above 8C.

“Chef advised that sauces were left to cool at room temperature in the kitchen over a period of 3-4 hours. This slows down the cooling process and presents ideal conditions for food poisoning bacteria to grow.”

Raw lamb pieces were stored in a colander and placed on top of a box containing packeted food sold directly to customers.

“When informed of the risk, the chef then placed them on to cans of chickpeas.

“Storing raw meat in a receptable with holes in it allows raw meat juices and potentially harmful bacteria to drip through on to objects/surfaces below.

“This could lead to the spread of harmful bacteria on to objects, hands and around the kitchen.”

The report included dozens of action points and said that inspectors would return in four weeks to see if they were being put into action.

Once they believe they have made improvements, Taj’s management can request a reinspection.

Taj has recently opened two new stores, one in London Road and another on the Sussex University campus in Falmer.

It has not responded to requests for comment.

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Reminiscent of Basil Fawlty saying to the Inspector who delivers a monologue by the fridge, “apart from that, it’s all right?”

  2. Dave Reply

    Why people rave on about this place is anyone’s guess. A lack of Food hygiene shows nothing but disrespect for your customer

  3. Alan alan Reply

    Why was this information withheld? Surely the Councils inspectors should put this diabolical inaction by the Shop into the public domain? What’s the point of inspecting if they only release the seriously disgusting information after a request? Ridiculous and makes you wonder where else we are trusting to keep us healthy is letting us down? Doesn’t surprise me with this place as I once walked past and the bloke setting up the melon display at front was casually picking his nose and touching the fruit, same chap perhaps?

  4. Me Me Reply

    The rating is public information. It’s currently the only zero in the area.
    https://ratings.food.gov.uk/authority-search/en-gb/%5E/%5E/Relevance/0/875/Equal0/0/1/10

  5. Anne Reply

    I used to go to that branch about 13 years ago, and thought they were really good. Such a shame that they’ve gone down hill. I wonder how that augers for the new London Road branch, I dread to think.

  6. takaway Reply

    Worse than McDonalds – at least they wash their hands..

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