These are the disgusting images that helped to shut down a Chinese restaurant in Fermanagh.
The former owners of the Golden Palace Chinese in Belleek were rapped by environmental health chiefs and fined £10,000 for a string of shocking offences.
Dirty cookers, no satisfactory facilities to wash hands and raw chicken defrosting in a filthy sink were just some of the grim discoveries made by health inspectors from Fermanagh District Council earlier this year.
In January the Golden Palace was first checked out by public health inspectors and a follow-up inspection took place in April. It was then that inspectors found a lack of cleanliness, a lack of structure and a lack of confidence in management.
During the inspection on April 16 Graham Farthing, environmental health officer, observed numerous pieces of dirty equipment including cookers, fridges, rice cookers, walls, extraction filters and a wash hand basin.
There were also numerous filthy food containers that were in use to store food, such as chips. Raw chicken was defrosting in a dirty kitchen sink at room temperature and egg fried rice and boiled rice were being stored at room temperature and not in the fridge.
Swabs sent to a Belfast laboratory were found to contain bacteria potentially harmful to health, including e.coli and salmonella.
Mr Xiang Li and Mr Feng Liu, the food business operator and the manager, were summoned to attend court to answer the charges this week but they didn’t show up.
Prosecuting on behalf of Fermanagh District Council, solicitor Gary Black outlined the facts.
During a hearing at Fermanagh Magistrates Court, the District Judge Liam McNally found the two defendants guilty and issued a £2,000 fine for each of the five offences.
It’s thought the fine is the largest of its kind imposed on a food outlet in Northern Ireland.
All of the almost 900 food businesses registered with Fermanagh District Council are inspected regularly, but according to Robert Forde, director of environmental health, the Golden Palace was one of the worst for food hygiene.
“Yes, it’s certainly one of the worst we’ve seen in Fermanagh, certainly in a long time. While we try to work at all times with businesses to ensure compliance, if it’s not forthcoming as such then the council will take relevant action, just like we have done here.” he said.
Both Li and Liu have since left the Golden Palace and the premises now has new owners and is thought to be reopening in the new year.