Soho pizzeria cockroach infestation

A long standing pizzeria in Soho was closed down after a cockroach infestation.

Inspectors served La Porchetta Pollo Bar an immediate Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice after pests were found in multiple places including in kitchen equipment and on the floor.

La Porchetta Pollo Bar on Old Compton Street was shut immediately after the visit last December and still has a food hygiene rating of 0 out of a possible 5, with mice droppings also spotted on the premises.

The food hygiene report also detailed poor hygiene practices including raw meat being stored on top of ready to eat foods, and shellfish dripping onto vegetables.

A letter seen by WT suggested that several areas of hygiene may have been overlooked given the focus of the investigation on the cockroach activity.

It said: “The inspection revealed an active cockroach infestation and poor maintenance of routine cleaning throughout the premises.

“I would also like to note that quite early on into the inspection, cockroach activity was noted. This in turn meant focus was given to this and some areas that typically would be inspected may have been missed or not carried out in as much detail as usual.

The report detailed a mincer contaminated by live cockroaches. It added that: “Food was found stored both directly on the floor and open in the kitchen and basement area, this was despite there being a widespread and active cockroach infestation.

“From evidence at the time of my inspection, I noted that cockroach activity has been identified in your premises. This was noted in the motor house of all the chillers where the motor house could be removed, behind the dish washer, on shelves containing food and food contact equipment throughout the storage room in the basement and in the bar storage area in the basement.

“Evidence of mice were also found in the ground floor bar where droppings were present.”

It also mentioned how chefs were preparing raw cuttlefish beside vegetables in a sink despite what colour chopping boards they should use. Several instances of cross contamination were also spotted, with lasagne and desserts being cooked in the same oven, with the potential for allergens to be introduced.

The report also said: “The slicer and the separate mincer/grater was found to be filthy and had not been cleaned after they were last used. The chef stated this was one day previous for the slicer and three days previous for the mincer and slicer. Dirt and food debris had been left on the equipment (which will attract pests).”

La Porchetta is a family run restaurant formed of two establishments, one known for its pasta the other for its pizza, with history dating back to 1952. It has a rating of four stars on Trip advisor.

Staff were also caught washing their hands in the food sink, with the designated wash hand basin not able to be ‘seen let alone used’ due to it being blocked with lettuce heads. Additional food safety training was advised.

The restaurant has since reopened after the inspection on December 19.

Image: Flickr/Kake.

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