Cigarette butt has costly bill

A CIGARETTE end in a Chinese meal has cost a Suffolk restaurant almost £1,500 in fines and costs. Metroace Ltd, trading as the Szechuan Inn at Brantham, and Shek-Keung Kwok, acting manager of the Szechuan, were fined a total of £700 plus £770 costs by South East Suffolk magistrates.

A CIGARETTE end in a Chinese meal has cost a Suffolk restaurant almost £1,500 in fines and costs.

Metroace Ltd, trading as the Szechuan Inn at Brantham, and Shek-Keung Kwok, acting manager of the Szechuan, were fined a total of £700 plus £770 costs by South East Suffolk magistrates.

The prosecution, by Babergh Council, followed reports that a customer had found a cigarette butt in his meal in April 2004.

Babergh's Environmental Health team began an investigation into the Cattawade Street restaurant and, although they unable to determine exactly how the contamination occurred, they found that staff working in the kitchen had not received adequate training in food hygiene and were not being properly supervised.

The incident followed a number of warnings from Environmental Health Officers regarding staff training and general standards of hygiene on the premises.

Kwok told the court that he accepted full responsibility and apologised for the distress caused to the customer concerned. He has since employed new staff and made changes to the running of the kitchen to prevent a repeat occurrence.

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Emma Richbell, Technical Officer from the Environmental Services team said: "Smoking in food preparation or storage areas is a matter we take very seriously.

"As well as the possibility of complaints such as this, the act of smoking involves hand to mouth contact which can transfer food poisoning bacteria into food.

"We will not hesitate to take enforcement action against businesses who choose to ignore this legal requirement."

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