A Papa John's branch was temporarily closed after "disgusting" photos were leaked from inside, showing mouldy food and rubbish on the floor.
The pizza giant has since apologised and says a new management team has been brought in after a whistle-blowing former employee shared the images.
The staff member, who wishes to remain anonymous, released snaps that appeared to show a rat trap on a counter, rubbish piled in a disused food lift, and mouldy food.
They alleged hygiene and general cleanliness standards of the branch were "absolutely disgusting", writes PlymouthLive.
The former pizza worker also claimed working conditions in the Mutley Plain branch during the time were sub-standard.
Since the images were leaked, a Papa John's spokesperson has said the store has new management, and the branch was shut pending an inspection by an external audit provider, "so that customers can be completely confident that our high standards are being met".
The spokesperson added the "examples fall far short of what we require" and explained they "do not represent the store as it is today".
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Management says previous issues have been "addressed" and an additional visit from an Environmental Health Officer has been requested.
The whistleblower claims they removed a rat trap from the counter, and staff "have no clue about health and safety".
They alleged they discovered mouldy cauliflower wings on the 'make line', and they threw them away immediately.
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"Mouldy food, a broken wonky toilet, piles of rubbish because the company are always late paying their bin removal bills, mould on the ceiling, dirty floors and sinks, it's absolutely disgusting," the former employee said.
"I'm flabbergasted at how it [was] still able to stay open, I want people to know the truth and the franchise who own the shop don't deserve people's hard-earned money."
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The company confirmed the challenges were identified when the store was under previous management and prompt action was action.
The branch has brought new management into the branch now, which Papa John's says addressed the issues, and have voluntarily closed the store in the meantime.
A spokesperson said: "Food safety and store cleanliness are of the utmost importance to Papa John's.
"Clearly, these examples fall far short of what we require, and we apologise. However, they do not represent the store as it is today.
"Our own regular inspections identified these challenges when the store was under previous management, and prompt action was taken."
The spokesperson added: "The store now has new management which has addressed those issues, has asked the Environmental Health Officer to inspect the store.
"And in the meantime has voluntarily closed the store pending an inspection by an external audit provider so that customers can be completely confident that our high standards are being met."
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