Jamie Oliver’s exclusive Barbecoa butcher’s shop was forced to close for 24 hours after hygiene inspectors gave it their lowest rating branding it “hazardous”.
Located near St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London, the high-end butchers, which supplies meat for the celebrity chef’s restaurant of the same name above it, scored one out of five in a recent inspection with health inspectors uncovering serious hygiene problems including mouse droppings, mould on the carcasses of animals and out-of-date Wagyu beef.
On the Food Standards Agency’s website, the butcher’s score its 8 January inspection is listed as of one out of five with the comment: “major improvement necessary”.
The full extent of the hygiene problems were made public following a Freedom of Information request by The Times, which revealed that carcasses hanging in basement chillers were found to have mould growing on them, slicers and vacuum packers were left dirty and expensive Wagyu beef, marrow bone, oxtail, onglet, and lomo de caña, a Spanish-style pork, were found to be past their use-by dates.
In one case chicken breasts which had been de-boned were removed from their box, vacuum packed and relabelled with a date set for a week later, City of London inspectors said, who also noted that the shop had no safety management system in place.
The shop was also said to have dirty fridge door handles, inadequate washing facilities for staff, poor lighting, damaged flooring and a “heavy presence” of mouse droppings.
A spokeswoman for the Jamie Oliver Group told The Times: “Following the environmental health inspection in January we took the immediate decision to voluntarily close the butchery for several hours in order to urgently address the issues raised. We reopened within 24 hours and officers noted that the improvements had been made.
“Issues such as this are extremely rare within the JO Restaurant Group and are treated with the utmost severity.”
The restaurant of the same name, which is above the butcher’s shop, was founded in 2010 by Oliver and an American chef, Adam Perry Lang, and describes on its website how it dry-ages its meat for “anything up to 70 days”.
A spokeswoman for the company said: “The longer the meat dry-ages, the more the mould occurs. This is a natural process and is safe to eat.”
The butcher’s shop reopened after the issues raised were addressed.