Saturday, 14 July 2012

Rotting chickens, mouse droppings, dead flies and live cockroaches – just some of the reasons for a series of convictions for Third World takeaway owners across Great Britain in recent weeks.

Rotting mice and a live cockroach were found at Muhib Indian Cuisine, Brick Lane 

The first instance comes from Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets, where the owner of Muhib Indian Cuisine was banned from running restaurants after rotting mice and a live cockroach were found in his curry house.

Batir Miah, 40, director of Rayhill Ltd which ran the Bengali restaurant, admitted seven breaches of European Commission and food hygiene regulations.

Three rotting mice at various stages of decomposition were discovered on a sticky trap, and a large oriental cockroach was found in the kitchen, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

Environmental health officers from Tower Hamlets council said there was ‘no area in the kitchen or basement that was free from the presence of mice’.

Mouse droppings were found in boxes of lettuces, tomatoes and peppers, as well as in takeaway containers.

Miah was fined £7,000, ordered to pay £3,000 costs and banned from managing any restaurant or food outlet.

In the same week, a Hull takeaway was shut down after staff were found using dirty cloths to clean the kitchen

Environmental health inspectors also found there was no hot water supply or cleaning products in the Latino's takeaway in Southcoates Lane, east Hull.

Owner Ali Mousavi had been told of urgent improvements needed to be made to hygiene in August last year.

But when inspectors visited on May 21, they said there was an ‘imminent risk of injury to health at the premises’.

The takeaway was given a zero rating under the national Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme when inspectors from Hull City Council visited in August last year.

On 5th July the owner of a Birmingham cafe that was littered with mouse droppings was fined for breaking food safety rules.

Sakindar Ali admitted five counts of contravening food regulations when he appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.

Chris Howrie, prosecuting on behalf of Birmingham City Council, said the authority’s environmental health officers were horrified by the filth and mouse droppings they discovered during an inspection of Chicken Hut, in Stratford Road, Sparkhill.

Mouse droppings were found throughout the premises, including inside and on takeaway food packaging,’ she said.

‘Some takeaway boxes showed signs of being gnawed by mice, while droppings were also found among sesame seeds in a drawer which had been used to hold bread rolls topped with sesame seeds.

‘Droppings were also found on shelves holding sauce bottles, on a till roll next to food bags, behind the microwave and behind a chest freezer in an area off the kitchen.

‘A dead fly was also found near takeaway boxes on top of the hot food display cabinet and a mouse hole was found in the skirting in the corner, near bins used to dispose of fat.’

Ali, 44, of Lyons Grove, Sparkhill, was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £1,195.20 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Vibrant ethnic cuisine

Three more prosecutions followed in as many days.

On the 9th July a takeaway owner in Middlesbrough was found guilty after health officers found his shop infested with mice and rotting chicken on floors next to cooked meats.

The filthy conditions were discovered during a routine visit to the Manolia Shawerma pizza and kebab shop, in Gresham Road, Middlesbrough, last summer.

Former owner Hawar Khalil, who had to speak through an interpreter, was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £675 court costs after he admitted five breaches of food hygiene regulations.

The court heard how there was a widespread mice infestation, and staff had been preparing food on trolleys and worktops next to rodent droppings.

Katherine Metcalfe, prosecuting on behalf of Middlesbrough Borough Council, said: ‘The floor was ingrained with dirt and strewn with food debris. There was decomposing raw chicken behind one freezer. One shelf was being held up by food tins and another set was being held up with string.’

The court heard how mouse poison had been spilled on a floor, there was a smell of urine in the serving area and paint was flaking off walls and ceilings.

Three days later, the former owner of a Telford takeaway was fined £16,000 by magistrates for a number of food hygiene and health and safety breaches and banned from managing any food businesses in the future.

The court heard that when Environmental Health Officers visited Satinderjit Singh’s Kismet 4 in 1, in June 2011 there was no soap available at any wash hand basins, the floors were dirty, items of equipment were damaged and dirty and there was no disinfectant on the site.

They also found that electrical equipment posed an immediate risk of serious injury to anyone in the kitchen area.

When officers visited the takeaway again in September 2011, no food handlers had any food hygiene qualifications, and a Hygiene Improvement Notice was served requiring this training be provided. However, on a further visit in November 2011 this notice had not been complied with.

The Council had previously issued Mr Singh with two cautions for food hygiene and health and safety breaches in 2007.

On the same day a takeaway owner in Swindon was banned from managing any food outlet in the town for life after failing to meet food hygiene standards.

Ranjit Matharu, owner of Best Burritoz in Theatre Square, appeared before Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday after pleading guilty to breaching 16 food hygiene offences.

Mr Matharu was given a prohibition order by Judge Simon Cooper after environmental health officers found a series of failings in the takeaway store.

The offences included: failing to protect food from contamination; failing to keep surfaces in the premises clean, maintained and in good order; and failing to ensure fire exits were clear and failing to store food in an appropriate place.

The take-away restaurant, which had already breached six regulations in April last year, was inspected by environmental health officers on May 12 this year.

On their inspection they found a shopping trolley in the main fire exit, the fridge sitting on a plastic box and food being prepared in the corridor away from the kitchen.

Mr Matharu was also fined for all 16 offences and made to pay costs of £5,408.

The message is clear: eat at Third World takeaways/restaurants at your own risk.

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