THE owner of a chicken shop in Worcester has said his shop was given the lowest possible hygiene rating 'by mistake' - but inspectors say the rating was correct at the time.

We reported how Jaqk’s Chicken and Chips in Foregate Street received a zero rating in October.

The rating was upped to a 2-star two weeks later after a re-inspection.

Aqeel Mohammed, Jaqk's owner, has defended the eatery claiming that Worcestershire Regulatory Services gave them the poor rating because they hadn't checked the shop’s paperwork, which keeps a record of it’s hygiene, cleanliness and pest control.

He said: “That paperwork makes a huge impact on the score you get, so I spoke to his superior about it."

However, a Worcestershire Regulatory Services spokesman said: “When an inspector visited Jaqk’s Chicken on 22 October, the premises’ food safety practices were found to be very poor.

“This is the primary reason why the outlet originally received a zero rating.

“We subsequently returned to the outlet in early November when some improvements had been made - and as a result Jaqk’s Chicken has received a Food Hygiene Rating of 2 out of 5."

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Mr Mohammed claimed the paperwork was not checked again when inspectors returned on November 4 and that was why he only received 2-stars.

He said Worcestershire Regulatory Services has apologised and offered him a free re-inspection.

But Worcestershire Regulatory Services, who inspect premises on behalf of the Food Standards Authority, say that an “IT issue” meant that the zero rating rather than the two rating was mistakenly published, and that the issue of paperwork was “a secondary matter”.

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The spokesman added: “Staff at the outlet have now produced a complete set of necessary paperwork – however this is a secondary matter.

“We have apologised for an IT issue which resulted in the lower rating being published.

“This was corrected within 24 hours and as a goodwill gesture, we have agreed to re-inspect the outlet at no cost to its owner in the New Year.”

Mr Mohammed said he expects Jaqk’s to receive a four or five star rating when it is re-inspected.

Jaqk’s previously received a five out of five rating in 2018 after new owners took over. The restaurant had been given a zero rating prior to this.