A town centre shop has been hit with a zero-star hygiene rating – after inspectors were alerted to a worker washing their feet in a sink.
M.M Cash and Carry in Ashford received a damning food hygiene report uncovering a catalogue of failures including broken fridges, out-of-date food and flies.
The butchers-cum-supermarket in New Rents was visited by an officer from Ashford Borough Council (ABC) in August following a complaint by a customer in February.
The shopper said they saw one of the employees "washing his face and blowing his nose in the sink, located next to the fresh meat counter, after cutting meat".
They were then seen "washing their feet" in the same sink, sparking the recent visit from the authority.
Documenting their findings in a report, inspectors said meat products such as ready-to-eat pre-packed sausages (salami) and paneer cheese were found in a "defective" display chiller unit with a temperature reading of 22C.
“The fridge was found to the left of the entrance to the shop," the inspectors wrote following their visit on August 16.
"They said it was repaired last week but had stopped working the day before the inspection.”
The products were so “high-risk”, the council removed the foodstuffs and “destroyed” them.
The report continued: “Out-of-date frozen products were found in the chest freezer.
“They were removed from display for sale and disposed of in our presence.
“General cleanliness needs to be improved in all areas.”
A walk-in freezer was found to be “very disorganised”, and items such as raw meat, chicken, and fish were stored together with some boxes damaged or torn – exposing the food.
It was also generally dirty, the council said.
In the chest freezer, raw chicken was kept in unlabelled blue carrier bags.
In a different frozen storage unit, the outer packet of some cheese was found to be covered in “what looked like blood”.
There were lots of house flies inside, despite a trap being used, because the front door was kept open.
Conditions were so bad at the site that the inspectors could not establish whether staff were clued up on how to deal with allergens and other protocols.
“Out-of-date frozen products were found in the chest freezer...”
Focus was put on removing the meat and cheese found in the faulty chiller, the report said.
When the council arrived, there was no hot water on site.
Staff told the authority the boiler had been turned off and, after being told to flip it back on, hot water returned over an hour later.
The inspectors said the basins are used “interchangeably for hand washing, washing raw meat, trays, knives and cleaning purposes”.
They gave the shop workers advice on dedicating one to hand washing, further noting there was no hand dryer in the bathroom.
Some advice given to bosses was to keep correct food safety documentation on-site, make sure hot water is available at all times while trading and improve cleaning in all areas.
The store has faced criticism from the Food Standards Agency in the past.
At an inspection in 2016, an active cockroach infestation was found, and it was ordered to close.
In 2021, officers slapped the cash and carry with a rating of two out of five after dirty fridges and missing tiles were spotted.
M.M Cash and Carry has been contacted for comment by KentOnline.