Brantham Chinese restaurant owner could be banned from food business after being caught running dirty premises again

Shek Kwok in 2008

Shek Kwok in 2008

An owner of a dirty Chinese restaurant on the Essex/Suffolk border could be banned from running a food business after breaching food hygiene regulations for the fourth time in 12 years.

Shek Kwok, of Parker Road, Colchester, appeared before Ipswich Crown Court for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to seven offences relating to the Oriental Cuisine in Cattawade Street, Brantham.

However, following the case being heard Recorder Simon Blackford said he needed more time to consider his sentence.

Previously Marcus Croskell, prosecuting on behalf of Babergh District Council, said the food hygiene offences took place during an unannounced visit by two of the council’s officers on January 9 last year.

Kwok, 60, has been running the restaurant since 1999.

The court heard the officers found a wash basin full of water and droplets of oil on the surface blocked by rubber gloves. The basin needed the waste pipe dismantled to unblock it.

There was an issue involving the kitchen’s two sinks and the danger of cross-contamination.

Most Read

A dirty washing up rack had packaged food, open raw egg shells and pieces of battered chicken on it.

Surfaces and floors were unclean. There was a fridge door which was damaged and dirty. Cardboard had been used to repair a problem with the door, A cardboard box in the fridge contained carrier bags with partially cooked pieces of duck.

Among the other hygiene issues was crispy seaweed in a bowl discovered in a dirty microwave and rice in a half open hot cupboard which was between 50 and 53 degrees when it should have been kept at 63 degrees. A floor grate was also damaged.

Mr Croskell said in 2002 there was an outbreak of salmonella at the restaurant - then called the Szechuan Inn. It originated from poorly cooked eggs. As a result there were successful civil claims by a number of individuals affected.

In 2004 Mr Kwok and his company were each fined £700 and ordered to pay costs for offences under the Food Safety Act.

In 2008 the Szechuan Inn breached three food hygiene offences resulting in conviction for Kwok who had to pay fines and costs totalling more than £16,000.

Mr Croskell said the Oriental Cuisine had also been inspected by officers unannounced on four occasions where issues of cross contamination were discussed with Kwok.

On each occasion Kwok failed to follow the advice. Each time officers found the standard of cleanliness was poor.

Mr Croskell said one of the officers involved with the January 9 inspection had reported: “Mr Kwok’s ability to run a food business safely, in my opinion, is questionable.

“I consider there is a risk of injury to health of the public at premises at which he is responsible for food hygiene.”

It was said the council would be seeking a prohibition order to stop Kwok operating a food business.

Mitigating Jonathan Taylor said: “Here, it’s less profit margin, more carelessness frankly.”

Sentencing was adjourned until Tuesday.