Restaurants fined for food safety and hygiene breaches
Two restaurants have been fined thousands of pounds after rats were detected in the pantry of one and mouse bait was spilled near food in the other which had "filthy" preparation areas.
Portsmouth City Council brought prosecutions against the Aubergine Indian restaurant and the Family House Chinese takeaway, both in Southsea, Hampshire, after they both failed to make improvements following previous visits by health inspectors.
A spokesman for the local authority said: "When an inspector made an unannounced visit to Aubergine last July, it revealed very poor cleanliness, with dirt, grease and food debris in many areas.
"Hand-washing facilities were not being maintained and bait for mice had been spilled near stored food. The hand and food contact surfaces were filthy and there was no effective food safety management system."
The spokesman said restaurant manager Shamsul Khan did make improvements after the visit, including hiring pest controllers, but added that he had a "history of making improvements after inspections and then failing to manage the restaurant effectively".
Khan, 44, of Haslemere Road, Southsea, pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court to five breaches of food safety and hygiene regulations, both as operator of the business and as sole director of the company behind it.
He was fined £4,200 for all offences, and told to pay £1,481 in costs and victim surcharges.
Family House operator Boon Ann Goh, 59, of Sudley Gardens, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, admitted eight breaches of food safety and hygiene regulations.
He was fined £3,500 and told to pay £1,394 in costs and victim surcharge.
The council spokesman said: "An unannounced inspection last July revealed extremely poor hygiene standards. Previous advice from the council had not been followed.
"There was dirt, grease and food debris in many areas where food was being handled and stored. Hand-washing facilities were not being maintained. There was evidence of rat activity in the rear food storage area.
"The council's inspector judged there was an imminent health risk and an immediate voluntary closure of the takeaway was agreed.
"The premises were cleaned and disinfected, and proofed against rats. A pest control visit was made. The business was allowed to reopen in August."
Robert New, the council's cabinet member for environment and community safety, said: "The histories of both these cases shows that we have worked hard with the businesses to try to ensure they keep up food safety standards. However, they failed to follow advice and let standards slide. For the protection of the public we had to take legal action."