According to the Daily Mail, environmental health officers (EHOs) uncovered several breaches of food safety during spot checks at 11 Jamie’s Italian restaurants for the year November 2009-2010.
Breaches discovered included out-of-date meat served in staff meals at Canary Wharf, undercooked burgers in Guildford (where management were supposedly threatened with legal action if standards didn’t change), produce stored on the floor in Glasgow, and two potential cases of norovirus in Reading, contracted from a shellfish dish.
However a spokesperson for the 17-strong chain dismissed the report as misleading, claiming threats of legal action were simply standard wording used on food hygiene templates sent to every restaurant in the country.
“All of the Jamie's Italians have EHO ratings of four or five - mostly five (the top rating),” he said. “The various EHOs have only ever recommended things as opposed to demanding improvements.”
He added: “There have been no proven cases of food poisoning which have warranted further EHO investigation.”
Jamie’s Italian recently acquired a site at thecentre:mk in Milton Keynes and at the Maltings shopping centre in St. Albans, both of which are due to launch before the end of the summer.
The chain, headed by managing director Simon Blagden, also intends to open a new restaurant in Gunwharf Quays this month, as well as in Cheltenham, Manchester and Threadneedle Street in London.
It aims to operate 25 restaurants by the end of 2011.