Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Rat infestations, mouse droppings, cockroaches, bugs in salads, mouldy chopping boards, raw chicken, gnawed food, and filth-smeared walls – just some of the recent findings during hygiene inspections at Britain’s foreign restaurants and takeaways.

A quick search on Google News for the keywords ‘takeaway hygiene’ and ‘restaurant hygiene’ reveals a series of news reports about fines and closures of food outlets on grounds of horrendous sanitation standards.

Over the last 30 days, there were 22 such establishments featured in articles that were listed in Google News. Out of those 22, only two were cited as having owners with British names, suggesting this is clearly one area in which non-whites are in no danger of being under-represented.

A selection of the stories can be found below. Bon appétit!

27 February, Burton: A Caribbean takeaway in Burton town centre has been told to improve its hygiene standards by environmental health inspectors.

Burton Caribbean Cuisine, in New Street, received just one out of a possible five stars when spot-checked by officials from East Staffordshire Borough Council’s Rate my Place scheme.

They discovered staff were using unsuitable cleaning products in the kitchen, there was no soap next to either of the hand wash basins in the building, and there was a mound of waste at the rear of the property that was at risk of harbouring pests.

Among the inspector’s findings were that:

• Raw meat products were not correctly stored in the fridge, posing a risk of cross-contamination;
• The fridge was hotter than the legal maximum temperature of 8C;
• Rice and curries were not placed in the fridge quickly enough after being cooked;
• Some surfaces and walls inside the building were chipped, making them difficult to clean;
• A storage area was too cluttered to be cleaned effectively;
• Food debris was found under the cooker and sink;
• There was no running hot water in the sink in the toilet;
• Strip lights did not have plastic covers as required;
• The business did not have a waste contract;
• There was no evidence of a written food safety management system. (Burton Mail

2 March, Worksop: The former owner of a Worksop restaurant who breached safety and food hygiene regulations has avoided being sent to prison.

But he was banned from ever running a food business again.

Worksop magistrates heard how Mohammed Abdul Kashem, 38, had risked causing a gas explosion or E.coli outbreak because of how he managed Monsoon in Ryton Street.

Bassetlaw Council brought the prosecution against him after officials carried out numerous inspections on the Indian restaurant.

On some occasions their improvement notices were complied with, but on others the promises were ‘filthy’.

The court heard how the restaurant had a history of non-compliance stretching back to 2010.

Monsoon closed its doors earlier this year. New owners have now transformed it into an Italian bistro.

Magistrates were told that inspectors had serious concerns about Monsoon after discovering a catalogue of safety and hygiene sins.

The kitchen was found to be in a ‘filthy’ state, said Mrs Lisa Gilligan, prosecuting on behalf of the council.

Floor tiles were broken, surfaces and food storage areas were dirty, and food like poppadoms and onion bhajis were stored in plastic bags and wrapped in newspaper, the court heard.

Food was also being kept in fridges which were running at dangerously high temperatures of between 11 and 13 degrees C, which could have led to food poisoning bacteria, like E.coli, to grow.

Magistrates were shown graphic photos of the evidence collected by the council.

Inspections also revealed that Kashem was in serious breach of gas safety regulations.

The court heard that on 21st December 2011, a gas engineer attended over concerns about ‘the release of combustible gas’ in the kitchen, said Mrs Gilligan.

A gas oven in the kitchen did not have a working safety device to prevent gas escaping, and another safety device on a Tandoori oven had been deliberately disabled.

“The council would say it is fortunate that we are not standing here detailing with an outbreak of E.coli or some other similar outbreak or even a gas explosion,” Mrs Gilligan had told the court at an earlier hearing. (Worksop Guardian)

5 March, Doncaster: An Armthorpe restaurant has been ordered to close its doors by Doncaster Council after a mouse infestation was found during a routine food hygiene inspection.

Environmental Health Officers visited the Kailash Balti House on Doncaster Road on 26 February and found evidence of a severe mouse infestation as well as filth and grime throughout the building.

Mouse droppings were found in all areas of the business including on items of food packaging, on kitchen equipment, in food preparation areas and on serviettes.

A Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served against the operator Imran Choudhury, and the premises were immediately closed to the public.

An application has been made to Doncaster Magistrates Court to obtain a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order and the owner may face further legal action for the offences committed, at a later date. (Thorne Gazette)

6 March, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire: A chip shop owner was ordered to pay a £1,000 fine after a customer found a blade in their takeaway meal.

The Impens family had sat down for their evening meal after Gerard Impens collected a takeaway from the Venue Fish Bar, on Chester Road, Whitby, on March 19 last year.

But Stacey, his son’s girlfriend, was shocked to discover a 1.5cm triangular blade stuck in one of her chips.

Mr Impens reported the incident to Environmental Health at the council and an investigation followed when it was discovered the blade had broken off the chip cutting machine.

On March 22 and 23, environmental health practitioner David Brownlow found ‘very poor hygiene practices, serious food contamination risks’ and ‘inadequate temperature control for high-risk foods’.

He also noted the standard of cleanliness was ‘inadequate’ and saw ‘structural defects’.

Owner Yue Qin Sie, of Acres Lane, Upton, Chester, voluntarily agreed to close the premises, which was awarded the lowest rating of no stars by the inspector.

Raw food was stored with cooked food in the fridge and raw chicken was being cut up on a board adjacent to fresh fruit while cooked chickens were stored on a shelf under the draining board.

A hand basin in the kitchen was used for draining chicken and washing equipment while a colander of cooked rice was left out at room temperature.

Ian Moore, prosecuting, said: “Rather than stop serving and throw away all the chips, they decided to continue serving while looking for the blade and when they couldn’t find it, carried on regardless.” (Ellesmere Port Pioneer)

6 March, Walthamstow: More than 100 neighbours have signed a petition calling for a takeaway's trading licence to be cancelled, claiming the business has left their street strewn with junk food.

Top Chicken in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, was controversially granted planning permission last May by the government planning inspectorate after Waltham Forest Council refused it permission on grounds including overdevelopment.

The council also decided the communal refuse storage area was too far from the takeaway to be hygienic, but was overruled by planning inspector Sue Glover, who said the distance did not mean bin bags would be dumped on the pavement of adjacent Priory Avenue.

However, more than 100 households and businesses have signed a petition claiming just that.

Mark Brett, 27, of Priory Avenue, said: “There’s rubbish all over the road. It’s horrible. 

“Bin bags get left on our street and get ripped open. Also the stench of cooking oil sometimes is just nasty, it gets everywhere because there is no proper ventilation system.

“Everyone feels like they’re living in their kitchen.”

Mohamed Sahibzada, 23, who lives in the flat above a shop next to Top Chicken, added: “There’s lots of chicken left at the back.

“It’s very unhygienic. There’s already too many takeaways here. We don’t need another.”

And mother-of-one Charlotte Newza, 21, of Pretoria Avenue, said: “It’s reached a point where it’s enough. Shops that don’t take their hygiene seriously make it even worse for our children’s health and the people living nearby.

“It’s disgusting all this rubbish is laying about. Shops run like this are bringing the area down.”

However, Shabaz Khan, manager of Top Chicken, denied that bin bags are left on the street and said the shop has a waste contractor which regularly disposes of the rubbish. (Waltham Forest Guardian)

7 March, Walsall: Walsall Council environmental health officers found mouse droppings covering the kitchen in a swoop on Caldmore Balti House on Monday.

Dirty food containers were also found on the Caldmore Road premises, Walsall Magistrates’ Court was told yesterday.

Environmental health officer Elizabeth Lee said the state of the restaurant’s kitchen and store room was a risk to the public’s health.

She said: “I had cause to visit after a complaint from a customer who said they saw a cockroach.

“When I walked into the kitchen I was immediately hit by the poor hygiene standards.

“It was dirty and containers with food in them were not clean.

“There were droppings on the shelves and on the floor.

“It was not a case of having to look for the droppings, they were peppering every surface I could see.”

The court was told the restaurant’s manager was Ibrar Hussain, who was not present during the hearing.

Ms Lee added that she visited the curry house before attending court yesterday.

She said three mice and a baby cockroach had been caught in traps.

Representing the council, Mrs Kerry Munroe made an application to stop the restaurant from trading.

She said: “The premises has a mice infestation and cockroaches have been found right throughout the preparation area.

“The environmental health officers state it has an immediate risk to health.” (Express and Star)

8 March, Tottenham: The Dragon Inn, a Chinese takeaway at 49 The Roundway, Tottenham, was shut down on February 7 after council environmental health officers found a rat infestation in the storage area, mice in the food areas, droppings around the premises, structural defects, neglected waste and general filth.

A previous improvement notice issued by the council had been ignored. The Dragon Inn was immediately closed pending a Hygiene Prohibition Order which was issued by magistrates on February 13. (Tottenhamand Wood Green Journal

8 March, Bingham, Nottinghamshire: A takeaway owner was been fined after inspectors found dirty tiles and wash basins and no hot water for staff to wash their hands.

Rushcliffe Borough Council took Mani Davanipour, owner of Pizza Pasta in Union Street, Bingham, to court for breach of food hygiene regulations.

On Monday at Nottingham Magistrates' Court he was found guilty on eight separate counts of poor food hygiene and cleanliness standards.

Environmental health officers took action in October after he failed to improve standards after earlier visits.

Mr Davanipour was ordered to pay £800 and costs of £750. (Nottingham Post)

9 March, Brighton: A restaurant owner, who runs the New Lotus takeaway, was fined nearly £7,500 after inspectors found signs of rat infestation at his premises.

Jian Lin pleaded guilty of failing to adhere to eight food hygiene regulations after inspectors found rat droppings and gnawed food packets in the restaurant’s food store.

Inspectors were shown the basement dry store and immediately found evidence of rat infestation with rat droppings on the tops of shelves and on cans of food and drink.

Lids used for containers for takeaway deliveries were stored in a box which also had rat droppings in.

Gnawing by rodents was also identified by inspectors on packets of rice, turmeric, creamed coconut and a 25kg tub of potato starch.

Inspectors also noticed that within an extension at the back of the premises, a drain which had previously been on the outside of the property was now on the interior and provided an essential water source for rats. (The Argus)

13 March, Middlesbrough: Mice have been dining at a filthy Chinese restaurant which has been closed down by health inspectors.

A routine probe of the Dragon House, in Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, on Friday found mouse droppings throughout the kitchen and evidence that rodents had been chewing food.

Middlesbrough Council used its powers under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 to shut the business, and on Monday this week a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order was issued at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

The restaurant will be remain shut until Environmental Health Officers are satisfied it can be run properly.

A council spokesman said: “They found mouse droppings throughout the kitchen, evidence of foodstuffs having being gnawed by mice, very poor standards of cleanliness, food at risk of contamination and other serious breaches of food hygiene regulations.”

Environmental Health manager Judith Hedgley said: “Poor standards of cleanliness together with the presence of mice or other public health pests present a serious risk to health.

“Therefore the conditions in this food business meant its immediate closure was necessary.” (The Northern Echo) 

14 March, Binbrook, Lincolnshire: Chau Yuan Li, of Ludford Road, Binbrook is charged with 11 offences under the food hygiene act.

Ms Li had been due to appear at Skegness Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, March 6. She failed to turn up for the hearing and now a warrant was issued for her arrest.

The offences allegedly happened on August 29, 2012 at Panda Chinese Takeaway, Fantasy Island, Ingoldmells, where Mrs Li is the business operator.

It is alleged she failed to keep the premises clean and in good repair, failed to ensure doors and surfaces were easy to clean, that equipment that came into contact with food was not effectively cleaned, waste was allegedly allowed to accumulate, food handlers allegedly failed to wear suitable clothing, food was allegedly not protected against risk of contamination and procedures were allegedly not in place to control pests.

Another charge involved food handlers not being trained in hygiene matters.

Mrs Li has not yet entered into a plea. (Market Rasen Mail)

15 March, Salford: Cockroaches swarmed in toppings at a filthy pizza takeaway held ‘under siege’ by vermin, a court heard.

Food hygiene officers also found bugs of ‘all shapes and sizes’ crawling in salads, containers of flour and baking powder, pizza-making equipment, fridges and cutlery at Peter Pan Pizza at Bury Old Road, Salford.

Droppings piled up on cooking surfaces as mice overran the squalid, grease-spattered takeaway, and yet owner Anayatula Karemi refused to hire a pest control team for weeks, saying it was ‘too expensive’. Manchester Crown Court heard that Salford council made repeated efforts to get Karemi, 25, of Hallsworth Road, Crumpsall to clean up his act.

Now, after being prosecuted for a string of food hygiene breaches, the married dad-of-four has been barred from running takeaways by a judge who branded him a ‘hopeless incompetent’.

Environmental health officers were stunned to find roaches crawling in sweetcorn used as pizza toppings after a complaint in September 2011.

Peter Horgan, prosecuting, told the court that there was a ‘heavy infestation’ of German cockroaches, which carry bacteria. Due to the risk to the public an emergency notice was issued and the premises were shut down.

Karemi, who took over the business in 2009, went on to admit 14 breaches of food hygiene regulations, but claims a business rival introduced cockroaches to the pizza shop. (Manchester Evening News)

15 March, Swansea: A Thai restaurant has been closed down by environmental health officers who said it posed an "immediate risk to health".

The Thai Elephant in Kings Road in Swansea Marina was visited as part of a routine inspection by officers on March 7.

Council officer, Sarah Williams, found there was an "exceptionally poor standard of cleanliness" and the food preparation area was "unsuitable," Swansea magistrates heard.

Sarah Thyer, prosecuting on behalf of Swansea Council, applied for city magistrates to grant an Emergency Prohibition Order to close the premises until the owner can prove they are back up to an acceptable standard.

During the inspection, officers found the shelves and containers near the Chinese cooker were "caked in grease".

"Sarah Williams looked under the cooker and it was obvious this area had not been cleaned for some time because there was a huge amount of grease running down the wall and a build-up of dirt on the wall," said Mrs Thyer.

There was a "serious build-up of filth and food- debris" as well as a lack of cleaning materials to allow disinfection," added Mrs Thyer. (South Wales Evening Post)

20 March, Kensington: A restaurant in All Saints Road is counting the cost of falling foul of food hygiene standards after being ordered to pay £5,015 yesterday (Tuesday 19 March 2013) at West London Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that when Kensington and Chelsea’s environmental health officers visited Café De Thai, 23 All Saints Road, London W11 1HE on 12 April 2012 the premises had to be closed because officers found a severe and widespread mouse infestation. There was evidence of gnawed packets of rice and uncooked prawn crackers and mouse droppings were found on food contact surfaces.

The restaurant was not kept clean, there was a failure to provide hot and cold running water and there had been a failure to keep stored foodstuffs protected from contamination.  It therefore posed a risk to public health and was immediately closed.

Mr Leo Jubbang, the Director of Café De Thai Limited, pleaded guilty to four food hygiene offences and was fined £3,000. In addition he was ordered to pay the Council’s £2,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Councillor Fiona Buxton, the Royal Borough’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Health, said:

“When officers visited this restaurant they found a serious mouse infestation and shut the premises immediately. I am relieved that the court has handed down this substantial fine and hope it sends a clear signal that unhygienic conditions will not be tolerated in the borough.” (Kensington and Chelsea Today)

March 21, Harrow: An extreme lack of cleanliness and hygiene led to an Indian restaurant owner being prosecuted and having to pay out nearly £7,000.

Environmental health inspectors took action after seeing the state of the kitchen and back rooms at the Chennai Masala in South Harrow, owned by Selvarajah Thiruarulsevan.

They moved in after two incidents of suspected food poisoning in February last year were linked with the restaurant in Alexandra Avenue, Willesden, magistrates were told.

Inspectors found dirty food preparation surfaces, walls and floors and the floor tiles in the cooking area were severely cracked and damaged, accumulating dirt.

The magistrates also heard employees had no soap or hygienic means of drying their hands at a hand basin, a rat trap was found in a hole in the wall of a food storage room and one of two commercial waste bins was overflowing with waste.

Uncovered raw chicken pieces were being stored next to uncovered cooked chicken, and a container of uncovered chopped peppers vegetables was stored on the floor under cleaning chemicals, while a chiller fan motor was leaking fluid into an open container of rice.

The inspectors witnessed staff using a grinding machine that had unprotected fast-moving mechanical parts, which could have led to serious injury. They were also concerned that a large gas cylinder was connected to a small gas appliance being used as an ‘idle steamer’. (Harrow Observer)

March 22, Bradford: The case against a Foleshill takeaway boss accused of food hygiene offences has been adjourned.

Akbar Jan, aged 47, of Bradford, faces 19 charges relating to Bab E Khybar, in Foleshill Road.

Environmental health officers closed the takeaway – based at the former General Wolfe pub – last July because conditions had not improved since two previous visit.

It is alleged there was a mice infestation, staff did not have food hygiene training, cooked food not kept warm enough, there was dirt and grease on the walls and floor, there was no written food safety management system, and the business was not registered with the council.

Jan faces a further allegation that he breached an order banning him from running a food business.

In January a co-accused, Israr Raja, 25, of Dorset Road, Radford, Coventry, was given a suspended jail sentence and unpaid work after admitting food safety breaches. (Coventry Telegraph)

25 March, Oldham: The boss of an award winning all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet has been fined £12,000 after his restaurant was found infested with mice.

Wen He, 41, closed down Imperial City in Oldham after council inspectors discovered rodent droppings on work surfaces, and live animals scurrying in the kitchen.

Conditions were so terrible that a visiting official actually recoiled from the smell.

As manager of Imperial City, which won a "best restaurant in Oldham" award in 2007, he had put his customers at serious risk of food poisoning, a court heard.

There were flies buzzing around the work surfaces and mould was growing on chopping boards.

The chefs and staff were wearing their normal clothes, with no aprons or protective overalls, and there was no running hot water for the wash basin.

He, a father, formerly of Yorkshire Street, Oldham, admitted six charges of failing to comply with general hygiene requirements.

He was fined a total of 12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,700.

William Donnelly, prosecuting, told the court: “Council representatives found a significant, active mouse infestation. There were mouse droppings throughout the kitchen, on the floor, on a gas cooker and next to some food. There were a number of flies buzzing around the kitchen area.”

Mr Donnelly added that on several occasions, inspectors had found live mice in the kitchen.

He added: “One of the inspectors said that the smell was such that she recoiled from certain areas of the kitchen. The nature of her work means that she's used to unpleasant smells in any event.”

Mr Donnelly said that workers were not wearing protective clothing, and chopping boards were split and mouldy, with old food caught inside. (Manchester Evening News)

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