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Restaurant fined £24,000 plus costs, for cleaning and hygiene offences
A Court has been told that a restaurant which was so dirty that it was nearly ordered to close immediately when visited by an environment health officer.
Liverpool magistrates heard that during a seven month period between March 2012 and October 2012 the Buffet Star, on Hanover House, 87 -91 Hanover Street, a self-service buffet restaurant in the City Centre serving Chinese and Thai cuisine, was visited six times and on each occasion serious and repeated contraventions of the food safety legislation were found.
- Rat droppings being found in the food storage room
- Raw eggs and defrosting raw chicken next to cooked and ready to eat food.
- A complete lack of routine cleaning of rooms where food was stored, handled and prepared
Buffet Star and its Managing Director Jung Wai Hui pleaded guilty to 20 breaches of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006. The director and the company were each fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £5,216.05 costs.
On his first inspection in March 2012 an environmental health officer noted that the lack of routine cleaning had resulted in a major build-up of food debris and congealed grease on surfaces including floors, walls, pipework, equipment and doors.
The tiled floor covering was damaged, which meant it could not be easily cleaned or disinfected and there was damage to the walls in a food storage area, which again meant that they could not be properly cleaned or disinfected.
Unclean cardboard was used as covering for the shelving of the walk-in refrigerator. There was evidence of rat droppings in the food storage room and the food handlers wore unclean protective clothing and showed a poor level of personal hygiene.
Because of the extremely poor and unhygienic conditions the EHO considered ordering the restaurant to close to protect public health, but because it was so busy and it was nearly closing time, he instructed the manager to stop the staff preparing food and to start cleaning.
The following day the officer returned and found that although extensive cleaning had been done, further cleaning was necessary to remove food debris and grease from the floor and equipment surfaces.
On a further visit in May, he found that there was an absence of a documented food safety management system as well as a lack of routine cleaning so there was again a build up of food debris, grease and dirt on the floors, walls, pipework and equipment.
Additionally, the same chopping boards were being used for both raw and cooked food and there were no soap or towels in the wash hand basin in the kitchen. As a result of this visit, two hygiene improvement notices were served requiring repair of the kitchen floor and the implementation of a food safety management system to be carried out and completed by the 1st August.
The officer revisited in July and found that there were still similar problems. On 1st August he found that, despite the Hygiene Improvement Notice, the floor was still in a state of disrepair and there was still no routine cleaning. The final visit was in October 2012 and again the officer found no routine cleaning, the floor was still not repaired and there were rat droppings in the boiler room where food was stored. He also found raw eggs and defrosting raw chicken next to cooked and ready to eat food.
Councillor Tim Moore , council cabinet member, commented: "This is an appalling example of putting profits before public health. It is baffling that he continued to operate in this way despite all the warnings. These fines should be a warning to those who put people's health at risk."
Liverpool City Council Environmental Health operates a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in partnership with the Food Standards Agency, which is designed to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food. More information on the ratings can be found at:
21st February 2013