A Chinese restaurant, formerly closed due to a rat infestation, was failing to defrost and store food safely, a report has revealed.

Imperial China, on the A41 near Bushey, was rated one out of five – 'major improvement necessary' – following a council food safety inspection on April 21 this year.

The Times has recently obtained the council’s food safety inspection report, via a Freedom of Information request, detailing the condition of the restaurant.

Hertsmere Borough Council’s report stated food was being defrosted in large quantities at ambient temperatures and was not being monitored. Food poisoning bacteria can grow when foods are kept at ambient temperatures for too long.

The report also found sauces such as peanut paste and sweet chilli sauce were stored at ambient temperatures when they require chilling.

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The restaurant was also criticised for using Dettol surface spray to clean as it does not meet minimum specification for British standards for reducing bacteria such as E coli.

It was further reported that only one bottle of sanitiser was available for all the kitchens. By law, each kitchen should have at least one bottle and kitchens with both raw and ready to eat foods need two separately marked bottles.

Officers were dismayed to also discover there was no hot water supply for the hand wash basin in the raw preparation room and that another wash basin was being used to store crockery.

Back in May 2018, the council issued a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order after officers discovered a rat infestation inside the restaurant.

St Albans Magistrates Court granted the order requiring the premises to remain closed until the infestation had been cleared.

The council later confirmed the owner of the restaurant took the remedial measures required to clear the infestation to the satisfaction of the council’s officers and the restaurant reopened the following month.