The manager of an Elton pub has been ordered to pay £12,620 after his premises were found to be in breach of numerous food hygiene regulations.
69-year-old Michael Allan Flegg, of Darlington Road in Elton, owner and manager of The Sutton Arms, Elton, appeared at Teesside Crown Court today (8 June). He pleaded guilty to two offences under General Food Regulations 2004* and a further seven offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
The court heard Environmental Health officers from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council visited the premises on 23 April 2014 to investigate a food poisoning allegation from a member of the public.
They carried out a food hygiene inspection which found:
• Food preparation and storage areas dirty and in poor condition
• Large amounts of food stored at room temperature
• Evidence of rodent activity in an external food storage space
• Ready to eat food stored next to raw meat
• Filthy cleaning cloths
• Filthy and damaged food storage containers
• Poor use of hand wash facilities
• Items of food beyond the manufacturers’ use-by-date
• Failure to implement a food safety management system
Officers carried out further inspections on 24 April, 13 May, 25 and 27 June 2014 where they found items of food beyond the manufacturers’ use-by-date and decomposing meat. They also carried out an advice visit on 16 February 2015 to make further recommendations for good practice.
Out of the samples taken from diners, six came back from Public Health England’s Reference Laboratory as positive for Clostridium Perfringens.
Mr Flegg admitted placing on the market food that was unsafe for human consumption by reason of contamination with pathogenic micro-organisms.
In mitigation, Mr Flegg’s barrister said that standards had dropped after Mr Flegg trusted his employees to manage the kitchen. He apologised to those affected and is now taking a more active role in the running of the kitchen, has bought new equipment, retrained chefs and implemented new procedures.
As well as fines totalling £9,000, Mr Flegg was ordered to pay £3,500 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety, said: “The Council offers food business operators a range of support, advice and training courses to help them maintain good hygiene standards.
“Members of the public should be able to enjoy a meal at any food outlet with the confidence it has been prepared in a clean, safe environment. Sadly in this case, that didn’t happen and as a result customers were put at risk.
“The Court’s decision in this case is a reminder to owners of all food premises that it is ultimately their responsibility to ensure good standards are maintained.”
Stockton Council regularly inspects food premises and the results are shown on the Food Standards Agency website http://ratings.food.gov.uk