THE OWNER of an Oxford deli criticised by hygiene inspectors over a 'misleading' five-star sign has apologised to customers.

Lal’s Deli was given just one star, the second lowest possible rating and which means ‘major improvement necessary’, when members of Oxford City Council’s health team visited the Cowley business on February 8.

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Along with a catalogue of issues to with staff knowledge and a lack of legally-required checks, the inspectors also noticed that the Barns Road deli still had a poster up declaring the shop had a top score of five stars, despite it previously dropping to three stars in June, 2017.

A report from the authority warned: “This could be seen as an attempt to mislead customers. You must not display any rating that’s not correct.”

Rajiv Kumar Lal, who owns the business with his wife Navdeep Kaur, said: "We weren't deliberately trying to mislead anyone, when we got the three stars we thought a new sign would be sent to us and we just forgot to take the other one down.

"I apologise to any customers who were misled."

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He added: “We have never had any complaints about our food and we have been there for three years we have a simple food menu which we cook fresh on the day and whatever is left we donate to a homeless shelter on Magdalen Road and to friends and family.

“The main reason they gave me one star was because I hadn’t kept records in the food and hygiene book.

"But I have now done all that and will be doing the course again just to refresh. We have never had any issue with pests or cleanliness.”

He said the couple planned to ask for a new inspection after renovation work was carried out on the deli over the Easter period and were confident they could get back up to five stars again.