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’.
In court on Tuesday, March 5, Thiruarulsevan, of Ridding Lane, Greenford, admitted eight counts of food hygiene and health and safety breaches on February 20, 2012, the day inspectors visited.
The 39-year-old was fined £130 on each count, totalling £1,040. He admitted identical offences on behalf of his company, Kiruthi Restaurant, which was fined £300 per count, totalling £2,400. The company was also ordered to pay £3,500 prosecution.
The restaurant was closed but has been allowed to reopen after remedial works required by the council were carried out. It continues to be monitored by the council.
Harrow Council’s portfolio holder for environment and community safety, Councillor Phillip O’Dell (Labour), said after the court case: “This prosecution sends a clear message that Harrow Council will always investigate food premises suspected of breaching food hygiene and health and safety laws.
“We will take swift and decisive action when we suspect the health and wellbeing of residents is being put at risk.”