A Rockingham pub which was at the centre of an investigation into a sickness bug was given the lowest possible food hygiene rating just a week before the outbreak.
Last month officials began looking into reports that people who ate at the Sondes Arms had fallen ill.
Two people who had eaten at the pub on November 26 tested positive for norovirus, which can be contracted in a number of ways and its source therefore could not be attributed to the pub.
Just 10 days before, Corby Council environmental health officers inspected the premises and gave it zero out of five rating.
Inspectors found there was no hot water to a hand wash basin, making effective hand washing impossible.
E.Coli bacteria was found in a sample taken from November 8.
It was also noted that the electronic fly killer was heavily “encrusted” with dead flies, with one chef cutting bread rolls underneath the fly killer.
A knife used for raw meat was also left on a bread board, and cleaning materials left next to chopping boards, making cross-contamination possible.
Corby Council then re-visited the pub and the majority of works highlighted had been completed.
A further inspection will take place in February, where the pub will be re-rated if improvments continue.
The Northants Telegraph wishes to make clear that the Corby Council inspectors’ findings cannot be directly attributed to causing the illnesses later in the month.
A Public Health England spokesman said: “PHE has been informed by the council’s environmental health team that samples were taken from a number of people who attended an event at the pub on November 24.
“These were negative for food poisoning bacteria, but were not investigated for any viruses.
“Following on from that, samples were submitted from individuals who attended a later event on November 26.
“These samples were tested for food poisoning bacteria and viruses, two of which tested positive for norovirus.
“Norovirus can be spread in the air and by touching contaminated surfaces, as well as by eating contaminated food, so it is not possible to directly attribute this illness to the establishment or actions of its staff.
“PHE has been informed that the council environmental team worked closely with the pub in December, to ensure its hygiene standards and protocols were of a good standard.”
Sondes Arms owner Sue Haynes said: “Enviromental health officers visited on November 16 for an annual routine check and raised several points with us.
“I would like to clarify that urgent issues including point number 16 [presence of E.Coli] were immediately rectified while the enviromental officers were still on the premises.
“All other issues including training and structural were adhered to, even before the enviromental officers returned with the printed copy on November 18.
“On the strength of this they then carried out a full inspection and clarified that all issues had been actioned and completed.”
Mrs Haynes added that she was confident the pub would be given the highest possible rating, five, when it is re-rated next month.
She said: “Scores on the Doors cannot be updated within three months of the “still period” of this visit, but it was stated by the enviromental health officers at this time that we would be scored at five.”