An infestation of cockroaches, mouse droppings and filthy chopping boards have landed a well known Southall restaurant a fine of over £15,000.
MMM Caterers Limited appeared at Uxbridge Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, August 5 after a string of failed food hygiene inspections and consistent disregard for basic food safety standards.
The company was ordered to pay £1500 for each of their eight offences, plus the council’s full costs of £3,615.88 and a victim surcharge of £120, bringing their total costs to £15,735.88.
Chaudhry’s TKC, open since 1965, has been subject to a number of written warnings, enforcement notices and two temporary closures over the last three and a half years and had traded under a food hygiene rating of zero out of five stars since December 2012 until April 2014.
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “This business’s continued failure to meet basic food hygiene standards and to deal with pest infestations has put their customers’ health at risk. I would advise everyone to always check the food hygiene rating of any business before they shop or dine.
“This prosecution should serve as a warning to all food businesses that it doesn’t matter how well established they are; we will take tough action if they don’t operate within the rules.”
The owner requested a follow up inspection in mid 2013 to try and improve their zero rating. Despite being told that a visit was imminent, a surprise inspection by Ealing Council’s food safety team on October 5 2013 once again found major failures.
The officer carrying out the inspection found dead flies on work surfaces, mouse faeces behind shelving, poor food storage systems, and a lack of hot water for washing hands or equipment.
Mouldy and filthy chopping boards were also in use. Food hygiene officers use a special device called a luminometer to measure the cleanliness of surfaces. A reading of below 50 is expected for a clean surface, but when one of the premises’ chopping boards was tested it returned a reading of 3978.
A follow up visit three weeks later uncovered more horrors including German cockroach infestation with live cockroaches found inside a refrigerated display containing uncovered food and inside kitchen cabinets.
The business had also failed to rectify the problems uncovered at the earlier inspection when a hygiene emergency prohibition notice was served.
Anyone who is concerned that a business is breaching food hygiene regulations should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8825 6666. Visit www.food.gov.uk to check the food hygiene rating of local businesses.