Buxton Japanese restaurant slammed by food hygiene inspectors for 'extreme poor standards'

A Japanese restaurant in Buxton has been criticised by a food hygiene inspector who concluded that it was “bitterly disappointing to observe the extreme poor standards” following her visit.

By Ed Dingwall
Friday, 25th February 2022, 5:17 pm

Sushi Kaji, on High Street, received a rating of one out of five, the second lowest, from the environmental health officer at High Peak Borough Council, who inspected the premises on January 12.

The restaurant opened in the summer of 2020, operating eat-in and delivery services, and has previously advertised a perfect food hygiene score of five out of five.

The officer’s initial report noted that the “kitchen upstairs was in extremely poor condition and numerous areas require deep clean” with particular emphasis on the washing up area, fridges and equipment.

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Sushi Kaji, at the junction of High Street and Dale Road, has been ordered to improve its food safety standards.

She later added: “The internal parts of the dishwasher were filthy and parts were mouldy and a clear slime visible. The internal and external parts of all fridges and freezers were dirty and in addition, door seals were covered in black mould and door handles filthy.

“Numerous pieces of cleaning equipment i.e. cloths, brushes, mops were dirty, it is virtually impossible to carry out effective cleaning with dirty equipment. All the ‘clean’ pieces of equipment in the dishwasher racks (air drying) were sat on table cloths covered in black mould.

“There was only a yellow (cooked meats) very mouldy chopping board and a blue (fish) chopping board that was so damaged that I was able to snap it in half at the time. Although you handle raw meats there was no red board. This leads me to believe that the same equipment i.e. was being used for preparing raw and ready to eat/cooked foods. This creates a risk of cross contamination.”

The inspector found there were no available records of cleaning schedules, staff training or temperature checks on fridges, freezers and random samples of hot food. In fact, there were no adequate digital thermometers and no PH probe, a device used to detect potentially harmful bacteria – particularly important with products such as sushi rice.

She also noted crumbling plaster and paintwork which could potentially fall into food, significant build-up of grease and dirt surrounding preparation areas, and clutter which made effective cleaning difficult.

In a follow-up letter to the proprietor, Raghav Thapa, the inspector wrote: “It was bitterly disappointing to observe the extreme poor standards throughout your kitchen upstairs and the decline in structure, this along with the poor procedures in place and lack of any effective training concerns me, especially when considering the extremely high risk foods that you handle.”

The rating implies “major improvement necessary” and the inspector returned the following week to assess compliance with legal requirements, having supplied a long list of recommendations on how to improve.

As of Tuesday, February 22, the restaurant had yet to apply for a new rating inspection.

When contacted by the Advertiser, a member of staff at the restaurant said: “There were some issues. It was a mistake on our part but everything has been amended now. We are currently putting paperwork in order and we will be contacting the inspectors soon to book another rating visit.”

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