MOULDY food, packets of ‘instant jellyfish’ almost six months out of date and a ‘filthy’ fridge were found during a hygiene inspection of an Oxford Chinese restaurant.

The Dragon Express was given a rating of just one star, meaning ‘major improvement necessary’, following the visit by Oxford City Council’s health team on December 4.

A report described the standard of hygiene at the Headington restaurant as ‘unacceptable’, adding: “Quantities of mould and out of date food were found in the cold room, including numerous packets of ‘instant natural jellyfish’ with a best before date of 25.6.2018.”

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The inspector said the business had voluntarily agreed to dispose of two containers of sesame paste which had mould on the containers and no date labelling, five tubs of curry with no date labelling, an open tin of oyster sauce, and a large tin of pineapple with ‘rust/discolouration’ on it.

Also binned was a large pot of chicken bones and stock cooked the previous night and left in the kitchen at room temperature.

Along with food issues there were also concerns over the general cleanliness of the kitchens, with ‘extensive mould growth and debris’ on shelves in the cold room, as well as mildew and mould on the walls.

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A refrigerated display unit, meanwhile, was described as being in a ‘filthy’ condition, and the probe within the blast chiller was found to be ‘visibly dirty’.

It ordered the restaurant to ‘thoroughly clean’ a meat slicer, chopping block, remove food and debris from floors in the kitchen and mould in the cold room.

The inspector was so troubled by these findings they revisited the London Road restaurant the following day and did note ‘many of the requirements to clean had been undertaken’.

The report, citing a lack of labelling, however, said: “You are unable to demonstrate safe cooking and reheating of foods.”

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Training was also criticised, with the inspector stating staff demonstrated ‘poor knowledge’ of cooling and stock rotation.

It said while a training certificate for an online course dated April 2017 was available ‘owing to the issues found’ this needed to be renewed and updated.

Despite the damning findings Dragon Express has a 4.5 score on review site TripAdvisor, with diners calling food ‘simple and tasty’, ‘amazing’ and praising ‘very friendly’ staff.

A statement from the restaurant said the mouldy and expired food was prepared for an old menu and were not being served to customers.

It added: “The issues have been solved and we are confident of receiving a good rating now and are still waiting for the inspector to come again.”