Ice cream parlour hits back at damning Facebook post by former employee questioning its hygiene
An ice cream parlour in Stevenage has hit back at posts on Facebook which have gone viral showing pictures of piles of rubbish and dirty containers at the High Street establishment.
Images claiming to show evidence of poor hygiene at the desserts-only Creams café in Stevenage have highlighted the power of Facebook to influence people’s views and the danger posed to businesses by former employees who leave with an axe to grind.
The pictures posted by Jade Tyler – a former employee – were shared more than 2,400 times after being posted on Facebook on Friday, and showed some hard-to-stomach images from behind the scenes at the cafe.
They depict coffee granules mixed with ice cream, filthy units, piles of rubbish and vats containing rancid contents.
Jade, who worked at Creams Cafe for seven months but was – according to the cafe’s management – asked to leave, posted: “I’ve seen employees pick food up off the floor and serve it to a customer. I’ve seen food being served with bites taken out of it. There has been mould, leaks, rotten dirt and just plain filth left in fridges and round the edges of the floor.
“In the whole time I worked there, I could count on my fingers how many times I saw someone wash their hands before or after serving food.
“The standards of this shop is shocking.”
But Creams has strongly refuted every point she has made in an updated statement given today.
A company spokesman said the pictures were taken as a routine way of pointing out jobs if they had not been completed by staff by the end of their shifts, because staff on the following shift would then have to complete them.
He said a bin of coffee granules shown in one image is emptied every day, that containers of waffle mix which had lids left off would never have been served to customers and were discarded immediately, and that rubbish is routinely disposed of after every shift.
He said all staff have hygiene training before confirming employment, and that comments about staff taking bites out of food and serving it after it had been on the floor were “outrageous” claims and “categorically untrue”.
He added that Creams had never had a single complaint like this from a customer, and that the type of soft desserts it serves would be impossible to take a bite from without it being noticeable.
Tahir Amin, operations manager of the café, told the Comet that many of the images are “simply incidents of spillage”, but accepted there are “more serious concerns” which are being addressed.
He said: “We are extremely disappointed to read, and see the subsequent reaction to, the Facebook post by a former member of our team.
“These accusations and images have been collated over a period of several months and, while many are simply incidents of spillage, we accept there are more serious concerns. In view of these more serious concerns, we have already applied a system of more frequent checks to not allow this to happen again.
“We have a five-star hygiene rating and have consistently passed independent health audits. This leads us to believe this is a vindictive attack which, due to the nature of social media, has become damaging far beyond its content.
“We ask our community to view this incident fairly, understand we take this seriously, and appreciate the source of the attack is from a person whose motives may be personal.”
A spokesperson for Stevenage Borough Council, whose hygiene officials regularly visit and rate inspect food outlets, said:
“In response to concerns on social media this month, we have carried out two unannounced inspections at Creams Café in Stevenage Old Town High Street.
“On both occasions we have found the correct food safety measures to be in place.”
However, the council said that at the beginning of October it served a statutory notice on the café as their waste storage arrangements were not suitable, and that the café had since arranged a new contract for waste removal.
By Monday, Jade’s Facebook post had attracted more than 1,600 comments and 2,400 shares.
Creams Cafe Stevenage opened in September last year and in November received a five-star hygiene rating from Stevenage Borough Council – the best that can be given.