Ever wondered what the Cornwall Food Agency hygiene reports actually say when a business is given a low rating of 2 or even, God forbid, a 1?

Usually just the bare bones of why it was given such a low rating are given but we at the Packet wanted to know what the inspectors actually found.

So when a number of low hygiene ratings ranging from one to two were filed in January we decided to put in a FOI request to see what it was all about.

And what we found was shocking, with rats and mice and even a Robin in one instance regular visitors to outwardly popular and respectable cafes, bars and restaurants.

There were inexperienced and untrained staff in charge of kitchens unaware of the company’s full food safety procedures and serious failings on identifying allergen and storing of cooked meat next to raw food which can cause food poisoning.

One popular seafront pub was so bad it requires a report all of its own, as it is still has a 1 rating nearly four months later.

However, two of the four venues we requested details were quickly reinspected with both going to a five (the highest rating) in a couple of weeks, so to spare their blushes we won’t name them as they could have been having a bad couple of weeks! However the two others still remain at their low ratings four months later.

The first, a popular established café in a stunning position in an area of outstanding natural beauty near Falmouth, found itself in the unenviable position of being given a rating of ‘2’ when the inspector visited at the end of January.

The inspection report found that an external pathway was being used for food handling and preparation and chopping boards were badly worn and chipped and needed replacing.

Disused and redundant kitchen equipment stored on the path outside provided a harbourage for rodents with mouse activity record on the perimeter and evidence of burrowing seen during the inspection.

They also found broken dirty floors, contact contamination on various surfaces including the fridge, accumulated food debris and equipment held together with duct tape!

However the cafe quickly turned things around and are now rated 5 (the highest rating) after a reinspection a couple of weeks later.

Another popular pub in another area of outstanding natural beauty near Helston found itself with a 1 (the worst) rating after the inspector called, again in January.

This time it wasn’t just rodents the inspector was worried about but while they were in the kitchen a Robin popped in for a visit.

Falmouth Packet: A Robin was a regular visitor to one kitchenA Robin was a regular visitor to one kitchen Not only that, the inspector was told they were a regular visitor by the chef, the only person present in the kitchen at the time and who was not trained to the correct level to be there on their own.

A chef in charge should be at least level 3 in food safety while this chef was only level 2 and so inexperienced he was unaware of the company’s full food safety procedures and safe methods.

This including opening and closing checks, temperature control, allergen control, cross contamination and cleaning and disinfection. He even needed training to change the oil in the fat fryers safely.

The pub was even told to serve a very basic menu temporarily and to not serve any meals to people with a severe food allergy/intolerance just to be on the safe side.

The inspector also found there was no sanitiser/disinfectant available in the kitchen at the time of the inspection. Once some had been found elsewhere (in the gents customer toilets) it was given to the chef, who didn’t know how to dilute it correctly.

“The chef was unaware of the allergen content of the dishes being produced and had not received appropriate training on managing allergens safely,” said the report.

Following the inspection, the pub also quickly turned itself around and now has a hygiene rating of 5.