A CONVENIENCE store selling potentially poisonous potatoes has promised to improve after being hit with a zero food hygiene rating.

Londis in Marston Road, Oxford, was inspected by Oxford City Council on February 27. A report published at the end of March revealed potatoes that had turned green were on sale.

According to inspectors, they could make people sick because of a natural toxin, glycoalkaloids, that cause stomach upsets and cannot be eliminated even when cooked properly.

The report from the council’s environmental department also revealed one staff member was unaware of the 8C maximum legal temperature for fridges, instead believing it to be 9C.

And they could not ascertain whether an unhygienic hot dog machine was being used.

Inspectors gave the shop a zero mark in its Scores on the Doors hygiene rating scheme, meaning urgent improvement was required.

The convenience store, owned by London-based Raj Singh, was told to stop selling baked products until conditions were improved because the bake off area was “cluttered and difficult to clean.”

The report added staff must be given training on the basics of food safety and trained “on the parts of of the food safety management system relevant to their roles including personal hygiene”.

Mr Singh, who has owned the store for eight years, said 70 per cent of the report’s requirements had been met ahead of the next inspection on April 30.

Married dad-of-three Mr Singh, who said any more green potatoes will be sent back immediately, added: “We start training at the end of this week. We are going to keep the building a safe place. We have a inspection on April 30 and we will not be selling bakery products until then. We don’t use the hot dog machine anymore.”

City councillor Mick Haines said the shop’s selling green potatoes was “not right at all” but added serious food hygiene issues were quite rare in Oxford. He said: “It’s important that food is good quality because you can soon get ill otherwise.”

Spokesman for the city council, Chofamba Sithole, said: “Officers will visit the premises before the next inspection to check progress with works.”

He added failure to comply was “generally dealt with by prosecution”.He added Londis had informed the council work to improve hygiene was under way, and confirmation in writing had been requested.

Mr Sithole added: “ “The timing of the next revisit will be dependent on the business owner further demonstrating to the council that he is being proactive regarding the works.”

The report also revealed apple juice that was more than three months past its sell-by-date was being sold and the rear door to the premises was locked, which was a fire hazard.

It added there was no disinfection taking place at the premises and no soap or paper towels were available in the staff toilet.