AN OXFORD deli that kept its five-star hygiene sign up for almost two years after receiving a lower rating has seen standards fall even further.

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.

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.

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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.”

Lal's Deli was awarded five stars in July 2015 but standards have continued to fall with each subsequent inspection.

The most hygiene visit also uncovered problems with food temperatures and storage, as well as toilet and hand washing facilities.

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Inspectors wrote: “You must have hygienic hand drying facilities at your hand wash basin in the shop and toilet.

“Your knowledge of food hygiene was not up to the level expected. You need to undertake refresher training.”

There was also concerns raised over the temperature of both chilled and hot food.

The report stated: “Food in chiller was 11C. Food in bain-marie was 50C. Keep food below 8C or above 63C or dispose of cold food after four hours and hot food after two hours.”

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The deli was also told it needed to date sauces as soon as they were opened, and that open cans must not be stored in the fridge.

Hygiene issues around the toilet included a warning ventilation was needed and that no food should be stored or produced ‘outside the toilet area’ without a lobby separating it.

Despite the plummeting ratings Lal's Deli, which serves a range of sandwiches, curries, cakes and hot drinks, has proved popular with customers.

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One wrote on the shop's Facebook page: "Will definitely, definitely be coming back. Warm welcomes, good conversation and amazing food!"

Another said it was worth making a special visit to, adding: "Great place for sandwiches and light lunch curries."

Lal's Deli was contacted for comment but did not respond before the paper went to print.