Greasy surfaces, raw meat, and mice droppings: dirty college kitchens exposed

There was a "potential mouse infestation” at one college, with droppings being found in the kitchen

A mouse
Photo: British Pest Control Association

Several Oxford colleges have contravened serious food hygiene regulations, Cherwell can reveal, with kitchens under fire for greasy surfaces, raw meat, and mice droppings.

Cherwell obtained copies of the most recent food hygiene reports of Oxford colleges via Freedom of Information requests, uncovering the perturbing faults in the production of college food.  

Jesus College’s latest report – conducted in April this year – stated that there was a “potential mouse infestation”, with there appearing to be “droppings in the drip trays below the brat pan”.

The report ordered Jesus to call in a pest control team immediately, as well as to deep clean the kitchen and pest-proof the doors and walls.

The hygiene inspector also raised concerns about the storage of raw meat in college’s walk-in freezer.

A Jesus College spokesperson told Cherwell: “Jesus College takes food hygiene extremely seriously and has a long standing record of achieving the highest quality inspection results. All areas that the inspection highlighted were immediately addressed, including continuous pest control surveillance.  The evidence of potential mouse activity was indeed disturbing but we were advised that the College was unfortunately a victim of a wider problem of mouse infestation affecting the Covered Market next to the College.

They added: “Having addressed the inspector’s findings, we have requested another inspection as soon as possible and are awaiting a response.”

Exeter also fared poorly, with the food hygiene officer beginning their report by saying: “During my inspection it was disappointing to see such poor standards of hygiene.”

They went on to detail three pages’ worth of hygiene contraventions, including basins not being cleaned, raw meat and fish not being stored properly, and large accumulations of grease covering surfaces and dropping from canopies.

One Exeter finalist told Cherwell: “Over the past two years, portion sizes have gone down, prices have gone up, and now we’re faced with this. To say it’s worrying is an understatement, and I can only hope it’s resolved soon.”   

Exeter did not respond to a request for comment.

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