Rat risk catches out takeaways

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Two Shefford restaurants have been fined than £10,000 after being prosecuted for food safety failings.

Dalchini Spice and Xpress Pizza were in court after visits by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Public Protection team unearthed numerous failings.

On Wednesday, Mohammed Chowdhury, of Dalchini Spice, pleaded guilty at Luton Magistrates’ Court to two food hygiene offences.

The Southbridge Street Indian restaurant and takeaway was inspected after the council was contacted with concerns that rats had been seen at the rear of the property around the external food store.

Mr Chowdhury admitted failing to ensure that the external food store was adequately protected against pests and for failing to protect various items such as food ingredients and takeaway food containers which were stored there from contamination.

He was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,650.

At Bedford Magistrates’ Court on the same day, Mr Khawaja, of Xpress Pizza, pleaded guilty to six food hygiene offences and was fined £2,700 and ordered to pay £1,000 towards the council’s prosecution costs.

A number of serious food hygiene concerns were identified at the High Street takeaway, including failing to have an adequate food safety management system in place, poor cleaning, a lack of hand cleaning and drying facilities and inadequate pest proofing due to a poorly designed and built rear store.

Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “The council is not in the habit of prosecuting businesses as we would rather work with them to help them overcome any issues.

“However, both businesses failed to respond to advice and guidance to help them meet food safety requirements, and when serious issues were then identified which could have left customers at risk, we were left with no choice but to prosecute.”

For more information about food hygiene, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/local-business.

And to check a venue’s food hygiene score, visit ratings.food.gov.uk