A food handler at an Ilkeston day nursery was seen to cough into their hand and then continue handling food.
The staff member at Rocking Horse, in Heanor Road, committed the blunder when Erewash Borough Council food hygiene inspectors visited the premises.
The firm was also found to be storing mouldy cheese in the fridge and raw meat next to ready-to-eat fruit.
When food hygiene officers inspected the premises, they witnessed a food handler cough into their hand but not wash their hands prior to continuing food handling duties.
The officer said: “You must ensure that food handlers wash their hands regularly and follow an appropriate technique using soap and water.”
The report also noted that a small piece of mouldy Cheddar cheese stored in the fridge was not safe to eat.
The report said: “You must dispose of unfit food immediately as it is an offence for food that is unsafe to be placed on the market.”
Pieces of raw minced beef were noted on a work surface next to some fruit that was also on the work surface.
According to the Food Standards Agency, the nursery currently has a two-star hygiene rating, due to its food-handling practices. The premises were found to be good and the management of food safety was ‘generally satisfactory’.
The inspector said: “I was informed that the pieces of fruit had been intended for the children’s dessert that day.
“The practice of placing ready-to-eat food such as fruit on the same work surface that is used for raw meat handing is likely to lead to cross contamination.”
A bin lid that could only be opened by touch was not clean, which mean that food handlers’ hands were being re-contaminated each time they opened the bin to dispose of towels. Also, seals between a work surfaces and the sink were found to be mouldy and in poor condition.
The inspector noted: “Remove the defective sink and replace it with one which is maintained in sound condition.”
The inspector further noted that they considered the level of food hygiene awareness in the premises to be inadequate, specifically with regards to the control of cross contamination when handling or preparation raw and ready-to-eat foods.
The business was originally inspected in January, but the food hygiene report has only just been released following a Freedom of Information request.