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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Hefty costs award against owner of pest ridden takeaway

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Food hygiene offences have left the owner of a filthy fast food restaurant facing more than £1,330 in costs following a successful prosecution by Stockton Council’s Environmental Health officers.

Mr Bisharat Khan, 27, of Oakdene Avenue, food business operator of Chicken Hotspot on Yarm Lane, Stockton was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order with 180 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £1,333 in costs and a £60 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to nine offences under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.

Teesside Magistrates heard yesterday (13 August) that an inspection by Environmental Health officers found the shop to be in a filthy, greasy and dirty condition with evidence of both cockroach and mice infestations.

The court heard Mr Khan admit the following charges:

  • The layout did not permit good food hygiene practices, namely protection against contamination and in particular pest control
  • Failed to put adequate procedures in place to control pests
  • Failed to put in place, implement and maintain permanent food safety procedures
  • Failed to ensure that food handlers were supervised, trained and instructed in food hygiene matters
  • Failed to keep the food premises clean and maintained in good repair and condition
  • Failed to make suitable hand washing and hand drying facilities available
  • Failed to ensure that the floor surface was maintained in a sound condition and was easy to clean and where necessary disinfect
  • Failed to ensure that all equipment, with which food came into contact, such as the microwave, preparation tables and surfaces, refrigerator, fryers, food storage containers and ready-to-use food wrappings were effectively cleaned and where necessary, disinfected

On 7 December last year, a Stockton Council food hygiene officer made an inspection to Chicken Hotspot following a complaint from a member of the public who said they had seen cockroaches in the shop.

At the time of the visit officers found the premises to be in a wholly unsatisfactory condition.

The premise structure was grubby and in disrepair. The structure of the food preparation and food storage areas was very dirty with grease on washing up sinks, preparation tables, equipment, walls, floors as well as underneath and behind equipment. Floor tiles were also broken and cracked.

There was an active cockroach infestation and evidence of mice throughout food preparation and storage areas.

The food safety management system at the premise was not implemented or controlling risks paramount to food safety. Hygiene standards and practices were poor with food handlers untrained in food hygiene matters and inadequately supervised. There was an open drain/sewer in the rear storage area. There was no soap or hygienic means of drying hands at either the toilet or food preparation area wash hand basin.

In mitigation Mr Khan said that he had been on holiday/pilgrimage for a month and that he had been ill for a period of time during which time he had left the business to be managed by a member of staff. That member of staff no longer works for the business and there are now only himself and one other member of staff working there and they have both received food hygiene training.

Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, said: “This is a serious case and a reminder to owners of food premises that it is ultimately their responsibility – not that of their employees – to make sure good standards of hygiene are upheld and appropriate food management systems are put into place.

“During this inspection the unacceptable level of hygiene and poor state of cleanliness immediately became apparent. People have the right to expect high standards of food hygiene when they eat out in any premises across the Borough which is why Stockton Council’s Environmental Health team will carry out regular inspections of high risk food premises.”

If you want to check the results of food hygiene inspections across the Borough and further afield you can visit www.food.gov.uk/ratings where premises are given star ratings.

 

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