Café owner feels ‘validated’ after council upgrades poor food hygiene rating

Oxford City Council’s Environmental Health team visited The Spires Cafe in Gloucester Green on Monday, January 22, and found that “improvement was necessary”.

The eatery was then given a lowly two-out-of-five hygiene score as a result, which left café owner Fitim Pira incensed.

“I felt extremely disappointed,” he told the Oxford Mail.

thisisoxfordshire: The Spires Cafe in Gloucester Green had been given a two-out-of-five rating.The Spires Cafe in Gloucester Green had been given a two-out-of-five rating. (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: Busy city centre café slammed with poor food hygiene rating after inspection

“When they visited my kitchen was shining like a diamond and I did not know what was wrong and it was a quiet day.”

“We were in the process of changing the menu when the inspectors came to visit and I was in the Cowley office sorting this.

The 30-year-old believes that paperwork was the cause of the issue but was unhappy with the treatment from the inspector.

“The inspector said that 90 per cent of the problem was the paperwork because I did not have it to hand that second,” added Fitim.

“I said that I could go and get it but it would be around 10 minutes but they carried on and finished without waiting.

“I couldn’t start arguing with her as it was her decision and I filed the complaint with Oxford City Council because I felt that we did not deserve such a low rating.”

thisisoxfordshire: Fitim Pira was not happy with the initial rating.Fitim Pira was not happy with the initial rating. (Image: The Spires Cafe)

The Spires Cafe, which was founded in February 2022, then saw a dramatic increase to a five-out-of-five rating following an inspection on Tuesday, March 26.

“I feel validated,” said Fitim.

“The place was spotless and clean though, it literally was just having the paperwork a bit mixed up.

“We had bottles of soap in the sink rather than a dispenser in the wall but we installed this the day after.”

According to the report in February, the café’s major issue was with its hygienic handling of food which was adjudged improvement was ‘necessary’.

thisisoxfordshire: The Spires Cafe in Gloucester Green.The Spires Cafe in Gloucester Green. (Image: The Spires Cafe)

This refers to the preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage of the food sold an deserved on the premises.

After the later inspection in March, this section of the criteria was upgraded drastically by inspectors who stated that the hygienic food handling was ‘very good’.

Elsewhere on the report and the café excelled, gaining a rating of ‘good’ for the remaining two sections.

The cleanliness and condition of facilities and building were deemed to be “generally satisfactory” by the visiting inspectors on the day.

This includes having an appropriate layout, ventilation, hand washing facilities and pest control to enable good food hygiene.

Likewise, the management of food safety was adjudged to be “generally satisfactory”, referring to the café having a system or checks in place to ensure that food sold or served is safe to eat.

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