Filthy kitchen leads to fine

MOUSE droppings, dirty areas, and a slimy sink used in food preparation today resulted in a Felixstowe takeaway being ordered to pay £2,200 fines and costs.

MOUSE droppings, dirty areas, and a slimy sink used in food preparation today resulted in a Felixstowe takeaway being ordered to pay £2,200 fines and costs.

The Golden Gate in Gainsborough Road, has promised magistrates it will clean up its act and work closely environmental health officers to put matters right.

Suffolk Coastal council prosecuted the Chinese takeaway as a last resort after work demanded by the authority's health inspectors was not done.

Magistrates sitting at Ipswich fined Golden Gate owner Brian Luu £1,200, with £1,000 costs, for failing to comply with an improvement notice. He pleaded guilty to the charge.

"Members of our food safety team have been concerned about this takeaway for quite a while and on their regular inspections have encouraged him to take greater care," said Patricia O'Brien, cabinet member for community well-being.

"Persuasion failed to bring about the necessary changes and resulted in an improvement notice last April.

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"Four particular structural improvements and cleaning changes were demanded but by last Friday only two of these had been carried out.

"A prosecution is a final resort as we prefer to work together with premises to ensure the legal standards are being met. However, we ultimately had no choice other than to use the courts.

"I hope that this case will be a strong warning to all food premises that they cannot afford to ignore the expert advice of our food safety team.

"The premises were monitored and at no time did officers consider that the business was in such a poor state that it needed to be closed."

The improvement notice demanded four particular areas be tackled.

The food storage room was ordered to be made pest-proofed as there was evidence of mouse droppings on a previous visit; and a sink in the outside covered backyard where food was washed needed repair as it had become slimy.

An open drain beneath the sink needed to be cleared up as it too was slimy and smelly, and the backyard required clearing up as it was generally dirty and splattered with food that could attract pests.

At the time of the last inspection on Friday last week, the backyard was in a satisfactory condition, and the area under the sink had been cleaned, but work to the food storage room and the sink had not been completed.

The prosecution was brought under Section 10 of the Food Safety Act.

Luu acknowledged to the magistrates the faults that had been found and promised to work with the council's environmental health team to make the necessary improvements and meet the proper standards.

The Golden Gate is just one of the 1,247 food premises visited regularly by Suffolk Coastal's food safety team to ensure national standards are being complied with across the district.

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