Wednesday, February 21

Takeaway boss admits to 10 hygiene breaches



AN Indian chef running a takeaway business out of the Nine Elms pub kitchen has been fined more than £7,500 after showing a lack of food hygiene.

Mahbub Chowdhury, of Plymouth Street, took over the kitchen under the business of Yeahya Flavour of Asia in February last year after it had been out of use for some time.

Environmental health officers visited the 45-year-old repeatedly over the following 12 months, witnessing cross contamination and filthy working conditions.

On one of the most recent visits, Chowdhury explained a milk bottle filled with water and fecal matter was being used to wash himself after toilet breaks.

In total, Chowdhury admitted 10 charges of breaching health and safety food hygiene regulations at Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Phil Wirth, prosecuting, said: “There was poor general cleaning throughout and food handlers were not supervised.

“The range grill and fryers were dirty with old food debris and cooked food.

“The shelves were lined with dirty grease and the outside of the fridge freezers were smeared with old food and grease. There was no date labelling or indication of durability.

“There were cross contamination issues, and Mr Chowdhury was wearing a dirty apron covered in mould. When asked for hand wash he produced a dirty bar of soap from under the sink.

“His responses to questions showed a continuing lack of knowledge of cross contamination issues. He had been cutting fresh meat over the sink because it was easier.”

Repeat visits showed little to no improvement in the state of the kitchen.

At a further inspection in May of this year, officers found the premises had deteriorated.

“Officers witnessed cross contamination when he handled raw prawns before vegetables used for garnish,” added Mr Wirth.

“He only washed his hands after both officers asked him to do so.”

Officers also found a milk bottle stored near chemicals, which Chowdhury said he filled with water and used to clean himself after going to the toilet, which was visibly contaminated with fecal matter.

Mark Glendenning, defending Chowdhury, said his client was only taking home £50 a week from the business, and although no prohibition order was being sought, it was not clear if the kitchen would be voluntarily closed.

“He took over the business two months before the initial inspection, taking over a kitchen that had not been used for some time,” he said.

“He was on Jobseekers Allowance before he took over and simply did not have enough money to make it good.

“There is a degree of naivety in the way the kitchen was being run, and he was putting more money into the business than he was getting out.

“He realises there is a long way to go.”

The bench imposed a fine of £250 for each offence with a victim surcharge of £25, with prosecution costs of £5,000.