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'Mice droppings' found by food hygiene inspectors at Sasa Sushi and The Old Red Lion in St John Street

PUBLISHED: 12:47 15 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:55 15 May 2019

The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub in St John Street. Picture: Dieter Perry

The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub in St John Street. Picture: Dieter Perry

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Mice droppings, cockroaches and concerns over the storage and preparation of raw fish have been highlighted by health inspectors in relation to two popular St John Street eateries.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests show why Sasa Sushi plummeted from a five star food hygiene rating to a zero following an inspection on January 30. They also reveal why the oldest pub in Islington, The Old Red Lion (ORL), was given the second lowest rating possible (1/5) following an inspection the same day.

In reference to ORL, an inspector stated: "There were numerous contraventions of the legislation - this is disappointing. [...] Mice droppings were seen on the shelves in the ground floor bar area and in the basement. Your last pest control report, dated (January 16) reported a mice infestation and cockroach problem. Recommendation from this report was deep cleaning - this clearly has not been actioned."

Other issues raised included the temperature pies and mash were stored at in fridges, the need for "high risk foods [to be] removed from sale and destroyed", and the requirement staff be food hygiene trained.

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ORL chief exec Damien Devine said the pub "fully supports the council's staged approach to compliance" and welcomes "the points for improvement raised". He said the same officer returned a month later and "all points were addressed to satisfaction with only a small number outstanding with agreed work in progress". He said fridges have since been replaced and three newer staff members are now have "full hygiene certification".

Mr Devine said pest control is outsourced to a "reputable" firm and ORL is "a small family run theatre business and take pride in the quality of service and product that we offer our customers". The results of that inspection have not yet been published.

At Sasa, where a Sushi set will set you back between £12.50 to £21.50, inspectors called for "a review into the businesses food safety management system, which "was last undertaken approximately three years ago".

It was also noted there was "no monitoring records, such as temperature checks" - and officers called for "immediate action" around the temperature sushi rice and raw fish to be eaten raw is stored at. "Mice droppings" were also discovered in spots including behind a door, "next to fridge by [a] bait box".

Sasa Sushi said the rating was "without context" and "does not reflect [its] standards" but declined to comment further.

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