A farm shop in Bodmin which was given a zero hygiene rating has assured customers that it is now compliant with the regulations.

David Frost, who has traded in the town for 38 years as DF Fruit Supplies and more recently as Celtic Produce, said that the business wanted to reassure shoppers that it had worked hard to minimise any issues and had undergone a successful reassessment. 

The business was given the zero rating after a number of problems were highlighted. 

These included having a hand-wash sink eight metres away from the counter and displaying fruit past its best before date inside the store. 

Mr Frost said he felt the assessment was designed to work against the traditional farm shop and that, while he admitted there were some minor issues, the process didn’t work with businesses but against them.

He said his business had received no customer complaints. 

Mr Frost said that while customers in the local community had stuck by the business after the zero rating, it had resulted in an impact on wholesale orders. 

He said: “We were shocked by how we were treated by the inspector, and customers who were in the store when the inspection took place asked about why the inspector was being, as they saw it, ‘aggressive’ or ‘horrible’. 

“It’s inevitable that in a traditional farm shop business such as ours, based in a farm building that is around 60 years old, we’re never likely to get five stars but to get a zero was harsh in our view. 

“We have taken on board what was said, but the truth is that things were raised this year that hadn’t been in 38 years of trading, so it’s not as if we deliberately didn’t do things. 

“We exist to try and do the right thing for the Bodmin community. I felt as if we were chastised for not having everything wrapped in plastic, when we try hard to be as plastic-free as possible, we felt as if we were marked down for not being a generic supermarket, and we’ve had zero complaints from customers about our produce, and many great reviews online.

“One example was the fact we sell fruit that is perfectly safe but past its best before date at a discounted rate for preserves or jams. 

“It’s no different to how supermarkets give away food past a best before date to local foodbanks or the fact they’ve removed best before dates completely on some fruit and veg and encourage the customer to use their own judgement to reduce food waste. 

“However, we were told by the inspector that having it on display indoors was wrong, so we were marked down for that, too.”

Mr Frost said that the seven things that the business was marked down for had all been addressed.