South Shields pizza shop given one-star food hygiene rating after inspectors found 'unacceptably dirty' equipment on site

A South Shields takeaway has been ordered to label its food properly after inspectors found meat advertised as Doner kebab was not 100% lamb.

Abra Pizzas, on Mile End Road, South Shields, has been ordered to improve its standards following an inspection by South Tyneside Council at the beginning of the summer.

A report, obtained by the Gazette under Freedom of Information laws, criticises the takeaway's method of describing its food and ingredients – pointing out that both its Doner kebab meat and cheese had been incorrectly labelled.

Doner kebab should be made with only lamb or mutton – but sometimes other meats, such as chicken or beef, are substituted into the mix. When this happens, the menu should be updated to ‘mixed meat’ reflect this.

Abra Pizzas, Mile End Road, South Shields.

Inspectors also ordered that the takeaway’s pizza menu should be changed to advise customers that they currently use an “80/20 mozzarella, vegetable oil and milk proteins” substance in their pizza toppings – but advertise it as cheese.

The report added: “The term cheese can only be used for products that contain 100% dairy products as required under the reserved descriptions of the Food Safety Act 1990.”

During the inspection, concerns were raised about Abra’s “poor hygiene practices” and called for updated formal food hygiene training to take place for staff, as well as training on how to disinfect the premises properly.

The report also detailed problems with correctly cooling and storing cooked food, missing grease filters in the extractor and food without date codes.

The business was awarded a one-star food hygiene rating.

The inspector found that parts of the kitchen’s floor was cracked, while the microwave and unit housing the takeaway’s pizza oven were “unacceptably dirty” and in need of a deep clean.

The Environmental Health Officer has told the takeaway staff that it is a legal requirement for them to remedy these discoveries to stop further action.

Further recommendations, some of which date back to January 2018, included keeping toilet and lobby doors closed to avoid the spread of airborne bacteria, disinfecting containers used for storing raw meat and dirty vegetables and ensuring proper cleaning of potentially contaminated surfaces.

According to the Food Standards Agency, Abra Pizzas on 37, Mile End Road, South Shields, was last inspected on Thursday, July 4 and awarded a rating of one, which means major improvement is necessary.

When inspected, businesses are given a rating between zero and five to help customers make choices about where to eat and buy food.

Five means that hygiene standards are very good, four means hygiene stands are good, three means hygiene standards are generally satisfactory and two means some improvement is necessary.

The lowest score, zero, means that urgent improvement is required.