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Butcher’s shop that illegally imported meat from Nigeria is hit with zero-star hygiene rating 

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Butcher’s shop which had a curtained toilet beside a food preparation area and illegally imported meat from Nigeria is hit with zero-star hygiene rating

A butcher’s shop has been hit with a zero-star hygiene rating after a curtained toilet was discovered by a food preparation area. 

The Rayan Butcher and Grocery in Ashford, Kent, was handed the low score by inspectors after they found an illegal import of meat products from Nigeria.

The scathing review reveals how staff were not wearing protective clothing when handling raw meat and no suitable cleaning or disinfectant products were being used to clean equipment and utensils.

The toilet, which was separated by a curtain, broke rules about the distance between a lavatory and a food preparation area and a drain pipe fixed with sticky tape was found. 

The shop owner, father-of-three Ibrahim Awad, a refugee from Syria, has said customers are now ‘scared’ to use the business due to the damning rating.

The Rayan Butcher and Grocery in Ashford, Kent, (pictured) was handed the rock-bottom score by food inspectors

The Rayan Butcher and Grocery in Ashford, Kent, (pictured) was handed the rock-bottom score by food inspectors 

A toilet was found in the food preparation area, roped off with just a curtain. This breaks food safety rules

A toilet was found in the food preparation area, roped off with just a curtain. This breaks food safety rules 

The report from Inspectors at Ashford Borough Council, who visited the site on February 7 and February 9, said: ‘The toilet in the wash-up areas opens directly into a room where food was being stored and handled. There was no door – only a curtain. 

‘Lavatories must not open directly into rooms in which food is handled. A lobby is required between the toilet and food room.

‘There must be a ventilated lobby between the toilet and food handling area.’

Raw meat and fresh vegetables were found to be stored in the same chiller, with the report saying these should be stored separately to prevent cross-contamination.

An illegal import of meat from Nigeria was also discovered at the shop.

The report added that there were no suitable cleaning and disinfectant products being used to clean equipment and utensils.

Several foodstuffs were found past their best-before date and a number of items were found to be in a state of disrepair.

An illegal importation of meat from Nigeria was found in storage areas. Staff were seen not wearing protective clothing while handling raw meat

An illegal importation of meat from Nigeria was found in storage areas. Staff were seen not wearing protective clothing while handling raw meat

Owner Ibrahim Awad said the illegal import was not on the shelves for sale but was instead in a storage area and that he was working to make the necessary improvements

Owner Ibrahim Awad said the illegal import was not on the shelves for sale but was instead in a storage area and that he was working to make the necessary improvements 

The report added how there were no suitable cleaning and disinfectant products being used to clean equipment and utensils

The report added how there were no suitable cleaning and disinfectant products being used to clean equipment and utensils

The report continued: ‘There is an open drain at the threshold of the butchery and rear wash up area.

‘The drain pipe to the wash hand basin in the butchery was sealed with sticky tape and is corrugated so waste will collect in it.

‘Drainage facilities must be adequate for the purpose intended. They are to be designed and constructed to avoid the risk of contamination.’

Previously called Alim Butcher and Grocery, father-of-three Ibrahim Awad launched the grocery and Halal butchers in 2021.

The Syrian refugee arrived in the town with his wife and children just before Christmas in 2015 and the former stonemason was determined to forge a new life for himself.

But he now fears his shop will be forced to close following the damning report.

He said: ‘The business is my life. I work day and night to build it – it is not easy. It is a bad situation, everyone is talking about it and now they’re scared to come to me. I am going to have a hard time now.’

Mr Awad also said that the illegal import of Nigerian meat was not on the shelf and was in storage, and he is now working to address the concerns raised in the report.

A council spokesperson said: ‘During inspections appropriate advice is provided to businesses on how they can improve and they are subsequently able to book a revisit to be re-evaluated.’



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