A FRESHWATER pizza takeaway owner says he feels belittled and disheartened after an inspector rated the business with a one-star food hygiene rating.

Fuoco Pizza, on Avenue Road, was given the rating by the Isle of Wight Council, which said the business had issues with food temperature control, a damaged washbasin, toilet and paper towel dispenser and missing documentation.

See video and owners’ comments below

The one-star rating means major improvements are necessary at the pizzeria.

It follows an inspection in February.

Environmental health inspectors said checks were not made to confirm whether dishes – including raw chicken – were being cooked to a safe temperature.

The kitchen at Fuoco Pizza in Freshwater.

Inspectors said staff at Fuoco Pizza were using an infrared thermometer (or IR gun) to check the temperature, which only applies to the outside surface of the food and not inside.

Not properly checking the temperature could allow food poisoning bacteria to survive.

The owner of Fuoco Pizza, Joe Melody, said the pizza oven, called a gozney, bakes pizzas at 400–500 degrees and that there is no doubt food is cooked to a safe temperature.

He added the correct temperature probe has been purchased and is being used.

The inspection report stated the kitchen toilet was leaking from the main drainage pipe onto the floor.

Inspectors said this could lead to contamination of food by foreign matter.

Isle of Wight County Press: Owner Joe said: “If people want peace of mind, I invite anyone to come and look for themselves!”Owner Joe said: “If people want peace of mind, I invite anyone to come and look for themselves!”

Joe told the County Press that repairs on the toilet were already scheduled to take place in the days that followed the inspection.

The report states the sink was also leaking onto the floor and materials for hygienic drying of hands were missing from the washbasin.

The sink was repaired on the same day as the toilet, said Joe.

Inspectors also reported that the sink tap was loose and hard to use effectively, and the paper towel dispenser was broken – the tap and paper towel dispenser have since been fixed.

The council requested Fuoco Pizza create an allergen matrix detailing common ingredients on the menu.

Inspectors noted in the report that allergen information can be offered verbally to customers.

Isle of Wight County Press: Fuoco Pizza received a four-star hygiene rating in 2020.Fuoco Pizza received a four-star hygiene rating in 2020.

There is a £ 205 fee to request a re-inspection, a price that Joe refuses to pay.

Joe said: “This report feels belittling and disheartening, we’ve put a lot of work into this.

“Before I owned my own place, I would have turned my nose up at a one-star rating, but now I know what a one-star looks like.

“We were given two weeks to make the changes, but no one has come back to check. I am frustrated by the lack of consistency.

“There has been no clarification. It hasn’t been helpful. ”

Joe says that all issues were in hand at the time of the inspection and that the inspector was informed of this.

“If people want peace of mind, I invite anyone to come and look for themselves!”

Fuoco Pizza is open from 4pm to 9pm, Monday to Saturday.

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