A restaurant slapped with the worst hygiene score in the district has swiftly won an improved rating – with bosses inviting diners to check the premises for themselves.
Inspectors have now awarded Bay Kebabs in High Street, Herne Bay, a four-star rating after revisiting the site last Tuesday.
This followed news it had received a score of one in February - meaning major improvement was necessary - after officials discovered no soap in the shop and raw meat being stored next to ready-to-eat salads and cheese.
Owner Kadir Rencber insists this was a misunderstanding that would have been rectified if he was there at the time.
“The member of staff who was here didn’t speak English very well, but nobody called me to let me know the inspector was here,” he said.
“I am the owner, the manager – nobody else controls the shop.
“You know how it was said the salad was next to raw meat? We have cress, lemon and parsley for decoration next to the meat, so it looks nice and clean.
“They thought we were selling the cress to customers. We have separate fridges for the meat, salads, drinks, dough – I don’t put raw meat next to cooked food or salads.”
Canterbury City Council documents revealed staff had to dash out to a nearby shop to buy soap, after the officers found none available inside the eatery.
The findings prompted the authority to advise Mr Rencber the site must have “adequate facilities for effective handwashing”.
They also recommended raw and ready-to-eat products be stored separately “to avoid and prevent cross-contamination”.
The 33-year-old believes he would have allayed the officers’ concerns by showing them the business’ daily reports book, which documents its food safety management.
“When I found out we got one star, I was shocked,” he continued.
“There would be no reason for it, if I was there. The member of staff didn’t know what it means when they asked for the book.
“When the council came back, I showed them the book, which I’ve updated every day since I’ve been here, and they said ‘that’s why we gave you one star – we thought you didn’t have it here’.
“At the time of the first inspection, there wasn’t soap in the shop, but there was in the toilet. We have hand sanitiser everywhere and were getting a delivery of soap, food and cleaning products the next day.”
Food hygiene ratings range from zero to five.
Bay Kebabs was given a new score of four stars after the follow-up visit last week - but Mr Rencber is vowing to appeal the result as he believes it deserves the top score of five, which it held until recently.
The businessman, who has been running the kebab house since 2009, insists his restaurant “is the most hygienic you can see”.
“There is no reason why we’ve not got five stars – I’m not happy with four. I’m an honest businessman,” he added.
“I’m ready to appeal, but I just need to get professional advice. We’ve always been on the right track, that’s why we’ve always had five stars.
“My shop is the most hygienic you can see; there is no fault. We would like to invite everyone to inspect our garden, stockroom and our kitchen.”
Council spokesman Rob Davies told KentOnline: “We have re-scored the premises, and are now in the appeal period.”