Food hygiene at a High Wycombe supermarket has been below the required level for almost 18 months – with health inspectors investigating the store last year after a customer discovered a severed rat’s head in a bag of frozen food.

Asda in Cressex is currently ranked as one of the worst large supermarket retailers in town for food hygiene after being handed a level two out of five rating by the food standards agency.

The large store, in Holmers Farm Way, is currently undergoing a multi-million pound makeover and has just opened a new Halal meat counter as part of the improvements.

Supermarket bosses were told by health inspectors in March 2015 that improvements were “necessary”, but they have only recently applied to be re-inspected.


Just weeks before being inspected, the store was rocked by controversy and made national headlines when an unsuspecting customer found a severed rat’s head in a bag of frozen spinach.

However, there is no suggestion the incident played a part in the hygiene rating or that the contamination happened in store.

An Asda spokesman said: “We pride ourselves on upholding the highest standards in our stores and while this rating dates back 18 months to March 2015, at the time we were quick to implement an action plan to make relevant improvements.

“We have since submitted a request for a re-rating, which we are confident will reflect the improvements that have been made to bring the store back up to our own high standards.”

The rating sees High Wycombe’s Asda rated as the worst supermarket across the town.

The majority of other large stores in the town, including Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, M&S, Lidl, Iceland and The Co-Operative, are all rated at level five (very good) on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS).

Seven of the eight Tesco and Tesco Express stores in High Wycombe were also rated at level five, while the Tesco Express in Chapel Lane, Sands, was given a level four (good) rating.

FHRS inspectors investigate how hygienically food is handled, the condition of the structure of the buildings and how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.

The building is set to be renovated as part of a £1.7 million investment in the High Wycombe store.

One of the first phases has already been completed, with a Halal butchers officially opened earlier this month.