Rat Dropping Sees Two Eateries in Southsea Fined Thousands

Two Southsea restaurants have been fined thousands of pounds each after failing to act on food safety advice and letting hygiene standards plummet at their premises

Aubergine, a Bangladeshi/Indian restaurant in Albert Road, and Family House, a Chinese takeaway in Jessie Road, both pleaded guilty to food safety and hygiene offences in Portsmouth magistrates court on Tuesday.

When a Portsmouth City Council inspector made an unannounced visit to Aubergine last July, it revealed very poor cleanliness, with dirt, grease and food debris in many areas. Hand-washing facilities were not being maintained and bait for mice had been spilled near stored food. The hand and food contact surfaces were filthy and there was no effective food safety management system.

Shamsul Khan, 44, of Haslemere Road, Southsea, admitted five breaches of food safety and hygiene regulations, both as operator of the business and as sole director of the company behind it. He was fined £4,200 for all offences, and told to pay £1,481 in costs and victim surcharges.

After the July inspection he made a number of improvements, including renewing a defective storeroom floor, updating record-keeping, boosting staff training and hiring pest controllers. However, the council’s evidence was that he had a history of making improvements after inspections and then failing to manage the restaurant effectively. He had not followed advice from the council or put coaching into practice.

Ann Goh, 59, of Sudley Gardens, Bognor, operator of Family House, admitted eight breaches of food safety and hygiene regulations. He was fined £3,500 and told to pay £1,394 in costs and victim surcharge.

An unannounced inspection last July revealed extremely poor hygiene standards. Previous advice from the council had not been followed. There was dirt, grease and food debris in many areas where food was being handled and stored. Hand washing facilities were not being maintained. There was evidence of rat activity in the rear food storage area.

The council’s inspector judged there was an imminent health risk and an immediate voluntary closure of the takeaway was agreed.

The premises were cleaned and disinfected, and proofed against rats. A pest control visit was made. The business was allowed to reopen in August.

Family House – disorderly store room, high risk food unprotected The council’s evidence was that Boon Ann Goh had attempted to improve his business after previous inspections but had then failed to manage it effectively.

Cllr Robert New, the council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety, said: “The histories of both these cases showsthat we have worked hard with the businesses to try to ensure they keep up food safety standards. However, they failed to follow advice and let standards slide. For the protection of the public we had to take legal action.”

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