Sushi Kaji, on the High Street, received a rating of one in five, the second lowest, from the High Peak Borough Council environmental health officer, who inspected the premises on January 12.
The restaurant opened in the summer of 2020, operating catering and delivery services, and previously announced a perfect food hygiene score of five out of five.
The officer’s initial report stated that “the upstairs kitchen was in very poor condition with many areas in need of a thorough cleaning”, with particular emphasis on the dishwashing area, refrigerators and equipment.
She later added, “The internal parts of the dishwasher were dirty and the parts were moldy and a clear sludge was visible. The internal and external parts of all refrigerators and freezers were filthy and furthermore the door seals were covered in black mold and the door handles dirty.
“A lot of cleaning equipment i.e. rags, brushes, mops were dirty, it is virtually impossible to perform effective cleaning with dirty equipment. All the “clean” equipment in the dishwasher racks (air dry) sat on tablecloths covered in black mold.
“There was only a very moldy yellow cutting board (cooked meats) and a blue cutting board (fish) which was so damaged that I was able to break it in half at the time. Although you were handling raw meats, there was no red board. This leads me to believe that the same equipment i.e. was used to prepare raw and ready-to-eat/cooked foods. This creates a risk of cross contamination.
The inspector found there were no records available of cleaning schedules, staff training, or temperature checks on refrigerators, freezers, and random hot food samples. In fact, there were no adequate digital thermometers or PH probe, a device used to detect potentially harmful bacteria – particularly important with items such as sushi rice.
She also noted crumbling plaster and paint that could fall into food, heavy accumulation of grease and dirt around prep areas, and clutter that made effective cleaning difficult.
In a follow-up letter to owner Raghav Thapa, the inspector wrote: ‘It was bitterly disappointing to observe the extremely poor standards throughout your upstairs kitchen and the decline of the structure, this along with the poor procedures in place and the lack of any effective training concerns me, especially considering the extremely high risk foods you handle. »
The rating implies ‘major improvement needed’ and the inspector returned the following week to assess compliance with legal requirements, having provided a long list of recommendations on how to improve.
As of Tuesday, February 22, the restaurant had yet to request a new grading inspection.
When contacted by the Advertiser, a restaurant staff member said, “There were a few issues. It was a mistake on our part but everything has been changed now. We are currently in the process of getting the paperwork in order and will be contacting the inspectors soon to book another assessment visit.