A bubble tea café in Essex has been handed an improvement notice and a hygiene rating of ‘1’ after various failings were found with regards to safe food handling.

T’s Bubble Tee, located within the Harvey Centre, Harlow, was given the rating of ‘1’ out of a possible ‘5’ (‘0’ requiring immediate action and ‘5’ representing excellent hygiene practices) following an inspection by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on December 15 last year. A score of ‘1’ indicates that major improvement is necessary.

In their report, the inspector noted that there was no wash basin provided for food handlers. It is a legal requirement under The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 for all businesses which prepare or handle food to provide employees with hand washing facilities which have adequate supplies of hot and cold water, soap, and a hygienic means of drying their hands.

Additionally, it was noted that one employee working at the time of the inspection was “not wearing suitable and clean over-clothing”, despite having an obligation to do so.

The inspector wrote that managers at T’s Bubble Tee had “failed to identify relevant hazards and any associated checks or procedures in your business that are needed to make certain the food you produce is safe… and put in place practices and procedures that would control potential problems”.

Staff were also recorded as being ‘inadequately trained’ and lacking knowledge of correct hygiene practices. The inspection report reads: “It was apparent during my inspection that the level of food hygiene awareness amongst your staff was inadequate.

“You must ensure that all food handlers engaged in your food business are supervised, instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters as necessary, bearing in mind the type of work which they do.”

It was recommended that management provide employees with hand sanitiser in food preparation areas, that suitable over-clothes start being work immediately, and to ensure a hand-washing basin is installed and staff training requirements are complied with as soon as possible.

LDRS has contacted T’s Bubble Tee for comment.