Health and safety fears have been raised after plates of food were found stored in a toilet at South Shields Town Hall.
A disgusted South Tyneside Council worker took photographs of the sealed plates of ham sandwiches, pasta, quiche and salad on a trolley in the ground-floor toilet at the building in Westoe Road, South Shields.
A council spokeswoman said the food was not for consumption, but admitted that the incident “simply isn’t good enough”.
That was echoed by opposition councillor Lee Hughes, who called for procedures around food at the civic headquarters to be tightened up.
Coun Hughes, independent for Jarrow’s Bede ward, said: “As an authority, we should be setting high standards in health and safety.
“We have the power to close premises down when they break hygiene rules. What kind of example is this?
We should be setting high standards in health and safetyLee Hughes
“Hopefully, it was just a one-off, but we need staff to be made aware of the correct procedures.”
The employee who discovered the food said: “I was at the town hall on Monday and found the food in the disabled toilets.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was quickly removed but I was absolutely appalled.
“You can even see the plastic cutlery at the back in the pictures.”
The council spokeswoman said: “This food was not for consumption and was not being stored in this area. It had been left over from an event at the weekend.
“The real issue is that this was a waste of resources as the food was not used and went to waste. This should not have happened.
“Staff started moving out of South Shields Town Hall at the weekend to allow essential work to be carried out.
“Early investigations suggest that the leftover food was simply pushed into that area while the removal of office equipment was taking place. In turn, it had been forgotten about and was found on Monday.”
She added: “That said, this simply isn’t good enough. I’m sure people can appreciate that given that only skeleton staff have been based at the town hall this week, this oversight occurred.
“Ordinarily we pride ourselves on the high standards we set and the welcome that the public and visitors are given in what is a beautiful building.
“I must again stress that this food was left over and was not intended for consumption when the photos were taken. I’d like to thank the individual who brought this to our attention and can confirm that it was disposed of swiftly.”