The Director of Chateau La Chaire has accused food hygiene inspectors of acting in an "overzealous manner" after the top-rated hotel and restaurant of 35 years was handed a zero-star rating.
As Express reported yesterday, the rating was published on 15 June 2022 following an inspection by the EatSafe team.
The hotel's website currently states the restaurant will be closed for lunch and dinner until September while "essential refurbishment works are completed to its kitchen."
However, the hotel has this morning moved to "clarify" the circumstances around the inspection and rating.
Director Mark Collins claimed that it is in the process of moving to a new kitchen, which was not checked when the inspection occurred, and that the EatSafe team failed to consult with senior members of staff at the time of the inspection.
Pictured: The establishments with a zero rating. (EatSafe/Gov.je)
"By 2021 the existing kitchen was nearing the end of its economical life and a complete refit was scheduled for 2022, with the work to take place from May to September. The restaurant was closed for lunch and dinner in preparation whilst moving the remainder of the operation to our second smaller kitchen for breakfast service," he said.
"The Eat Safe team made a visit in June after work had commenced in the main kitchen and in the absence of any management to discuss the works taking place, they issued the rating based on the current condition at that time whilst we were still transitioning to the second kitchen.
"They questioned the only member of kitchen staff on duty at the time, a junior staff member, who had only recently joined the team, who did not have the answers they were looking for. Unfortunately, they also did not look at our second kitchen."
He added that Chateau La Chaire invited the EatSafe team to inspect the second kitchen before their report was published, but "to date they have not done so."
Mr Collins continued: "We believe the Eat Safe Team has acted in an overzealous manner and our customers should be assured that the high standards expected from the Chateau remain in place.
"Our main kitchen refurbishment is now near to completion with new wall cladding, safety floor throughout and new equipment. We anticipate being fully operational in the next few weeks and look forward to welcoming the Eat Safe Team to reassess."
Approximately one half (542) of island food businesses have received a five-star 'Eat Safe' rating, whilst 19 businesses have received a rating of two or zero.
Environmental Health officials say the ratings are a result of a lengthy process and not a one-off inspection, with businesses given the opportunity to address any issues before a rating is published.
A three-star rating and above implies that businesses are "fully compliant with the Jersey Food Law", whilst a two-star rating suggests "low level of compliance" with the law.
According to the Eat Safe website, a rating of zero means that a business is a, "...non-compliant performer, a general failure to comply with the Jersey Food Law with major effort required to rectify issues."
Officials say the Eat Safe ratings are a preventative measure, and must legally be displayed publicly - standards inspected include handling and storage of food, how food is prepared, cleanliness of facilities, and how food safety is managed. Businesses are also inspected on their record-keeping regarding the dates of food deliveries and temperatures, as well as their policies.
Food audit inspections occur anywhere between every six months to three years but are dependent on each business' level of risk and compliance.
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