A SLUG on top of a packet of chicken and cheese that was 12 months past its use-by-date was found at a pub in Christchurch during a recent routine food hygiene inspection.

In a report produced following the visit to Ye Olde Starre Inne on Purewell a council inspector says a range of spoiled foods were found at the premises.

This included Red Leicester cheese dated January 16, 2017, Greek style yoghurt dated August 21, 2017 and decomposed mushrooms that had liquefied.

A revisit to the pub three days later found food which still needed to be disposed of, such as a “semi-frozen slug on top of a packet of raw chicken.” However staff say out of date food was never served to customers.

The premises, which was given a zero food hygiene rating, was identified as having a high potential of contamination by harmful bacteria such as E.coli.

The daily diary had not been completed since December 2016 and upon entering the kitchen the inspector noted food waste left in the bin overnight, dirty cloths left on the sink and mouldy washing up in the sink.

Staff were seen handling raw chicken breast and then continuing with other work without washing their hands.

Chloe Frost, landlady at Ye Olde Starre Inne, said the establishment was undergoing a refurbishment at the time of the visit and renovations are still on-going.

"All of our records and management side is up to date now,” she said.

"All of our meat is fresh produce and vegetables are cooked and prepared on the day.

"The out of date food that was found was never served to any customers.

"We used to use the kitchen for our personal cooking, but nothing out of date was served to customers."

"We don't do food everyday so it is difficult at times to do the records.

“The raw chicken was in the bin and not on the kitchen side or ever used.”

A follow up inspection has been planned and a number of re-visits since the initial inspection have also been carried out.

Sean Whitney, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils’ public health and protection manager, said an officer inspected the public house on January 26, 2018.

“The inspection highlighted a number of significant food safety concerns and consequently the officer took immediate action to address these concerns and to protect public health,” he added.

“The officer ensured all immediate risks were removed from the premises. All out-of-date food was disposed of and destroyed and advice on effective cleaning was given to staff. The officer also provided guidance on best practice to avoid cross contamination, which was fully explained and subsequently implemented by the staff.

“The premises was not formally closed at any time, however visits have been regularly carried out to ensure Ye Olde Starre Inn fully comply with good food hygiene standards.”

In the Christchurch and East Dorset Councils partnership area more than 97 per cent of all rated food businesses achieved a rating of three or above indicating satisfactory food hygiene standards.

More than 75 per cent have achieved the highest rating of 5 indicating very good food hygiene standards.

Mr Whitney added: "I recommend that anyone intending to eat out checks the available food hygiene rating information before deciding where to eat. This information is published on the Food Standards Agency website or on a number of commercial apps.”