The Scotsman has learned that BaxterStorey, co-founded by Scottish caterer Alastair Storey, was given a “poor” food hygiene rating for the lounge and Concorde Room in terminal five, which is classed as “major non-compliance with statutory obligations”.
The local Hillingdon Council gave the luxury premises a score of two out of five.
Its report said boiled eggs past their use-by date were found, along with unchilled sandwiches and a dirty ice machine and food chiller.
One worker was seen working in the kitchen after preparing raw salmon without removing his gloves or washing his hands. Sausages and scrambled eggs were also found being kept 13C cooler than required among other serious breaches.
The council ordered prompt action following the inspection in July.
The report said: “These types of food are likely to support the growth of food poisoning bacteria or the formation of toxins.”
Aberdeenshire-born Storey, who runs catering conglomerate Westbury Street Holdings, replaced Jamie Oliver last year as Caterer and Hotelkeeper’s “most-influential man in the UK hospitality industry”.
The group also provides food for schools, universities and corporate canteens including Royal Bank of Scotland.
The company issued a statement saying it took “immediate” action to remedy the findings at Heathrow.
A spokeswoman for BaxterStorey said: “BaxterStorey and British Airways will continue to work closely to improve services to achieve the very high standards we demand as a business.
“To this end, we have carried out an extensive renovation of the First and Concorde kitchen, investing considerable resources in training and development and implemented new rigorous auditing processes.
“We are confident that we have made significant improvements and have actively invited Hillingdon Council to return and re-audit the facilities.”
The results will come as a major embarrassment to BA. Heathrow is home to the airline’s flagship lounge, which is used by first-class passengers some of whom pay up to £10,000 for return tickets.
The poor rating is also in stark contrast to those of rival airlines at Heathrow, including Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Clubhouse in terminal three, whose premier lounges scored four or five in their most recent inspections.
A BA spokesman said: “We were very disappointed with the rating. We will continue to work with BaxterStorey to provide a high quality service to customers using our lounges.
“British Airways continues to make significant investments in improving lounge catering.
“This has included the full renovation of our kitchen facilities to ensure the standards meet and surpass customer expectations.”