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Restaurant fined for six hygiene offences

An Indian restaurant in Warsop has been ordered to pay almost £4,000 after poor hygiene and a severe rodent infestation led Mansfield District Council to temporarily close the business.

Mr Abu Rumel, the Food Business Operator of Bengal Cottage, 4 Burns Lane, Warsop appeared at Mansfield Magistrates' Court yesterday (17 October 2013). Rumel admitted breaching six hygiene offences relating to poor cleaning standards, a lack of pest control procedures and poor food hygiene management within the business.

Rumel was fined £300 per offence (a total of £1,800) and ordered to pay £1,906.50 in court costs plus a victim surcharge of £30 giving an overall total of £3,736.50.

On the 25 September 2012, officers from the Council's Environmental Health department visited Bengal Cottage. The officers discovered a serious mouse infestation in the premises. Mouse droppings were found in the dining area and throughout the kitchen, on surfaces such as the top of the cooker, food preparation surfaces, on/in food containers and actually on food being prepared for use in the restaurant. The officers also discovered a live mouse within a box of potatoes in the kitchen.

Cleaning standards within the premises were poor, which further added to the problems.

Food hygiene management documentation, which is required by law, was missing, and the management of the premises in relation to food safety was judged by the officers to be inadequate.

Given the problems seen, the officers deemed there was an immediate risk to health and served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice on the premises requiring it to close. This notice was later ratified at Mansfield Magistrates court on the 28 September 2012 when it was turned into a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order.

The premises remained closed under the order until 1 October 2012 when officers were satisfied that the mice infestation had been brought under control and the premises had been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected - at that point the officers were satisfied that the health risk condition had been removed and therefore lifted the Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order allowing the premises to re-open.

Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notices / Orders are only used by the District Council in extreme cases, where conditions within a food premises represent an imminent risk to health and there is evidence to show that the management of the food premises is either incapable or unwilling to take the necessary steps to resolve the problem at hand. Given the seriousness of the problems found during the visit, and that the officers had to resort to the extreme measure of serving a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice / Order, Rumel was prosecuted for breaching food hygiene laws.

Cllr Mick Barton, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, said: "Food hygiene is an important issue and the Council's Environmental Health department works hard to make sure businesses within the District only serve food that is safe to eat. The department does all it can to work with businesses to help them comply with food hygiene law, but in serious cases such as this it will not hesitate to take legal action to protect public safety and prosecute those who put their customers at risk."

Published 18 October 2013

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