Grantham Chinese restaurant fined £4k for hygiene offence

Po Sing in Welby Street. 179D
Po Sing in Welby Street. 179D
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A Chinese takeaway in Grantham has been fined £4,000 for operating in filthy conditions.

South Kesteven District Council prosecuted Mr Chi Tin Kwok, of Po Sing Chinese takeaway in Welby Street, for an offence under food hygiene legislation.

Grantham Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday how an unannounced food inspection was undertaken by environmental health officer Hazel Dunthorne on December 5, 2012.

She found a filthy double sink in the kitchen area with traces of raw chicken present that posed a risk of cross contamination and a dirty hand wash basin and pipes.

The officer was not offered any soap and only a dirty towel to wash her hands following the inspection, whilst a food storage area and staff toilets were also found to be dirty and in a bad state of repair.

Despite being given orders to clean the area, the inspector returned a day later to find only certain areas had been cleared.

The court was reminded that the council had intervened at the same premises in November 2011 when a hygiene improvement notice had been served, which aggravated the current offence.

Kwok pleaded guilty on Monday to failing to keep a food business premises cleaned, maintained and in good repair and condition, contrary to Regulation 17 of the Food Hygiene (England) regulations 2006.

Such was the seriousness of the offence the court exercised its discretion to exceed the statutory guideline maximum power of £5,000 by imposing a fine of £6,000 for the offence.

The fine was reduced to £4,000 for an early guilty plea and Kwok was ordered to pay £1,965.30 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

Presiding magistrate George Hoyles described the conditions of the kitchen and work areas as “disgusting”.

He said: “In 25 years never have I seen such a horrendous case as this. It is disgusting. The risk to people and staff is terribly high. There is considerable potential for harm to workers and the public.

“What you have done is a very serious matter Mr Kwok, I reiterate I have never known a case as bad as this.”

SKDC’s environmental health services team leader Judy Hulland said she hoped the fine would send out a message to food operators in the district.

She said: “SKDC food safety officers spend a lot of time encouraging businesses to maintain good hygienic standards.

“However there are a small minority of food businesses that we visit year after year who allow standards to slip dangerously between visits.

“We want the business to take responsibility for ensuring their premises are always at a satisfactory hygienic standard and the food sold from them is always safe.

“Members of the public should not have to gamble on a business providing safe food on some days and not on others.

“Unfortunately, in this instance we had no option but to prosecute.”