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Hefty fine for takeaway's food safety breaches

The former owner of an Indian takeaway in Wisbech is paying a hefty price for failing to maintain proper food hygiene standards at the premises.

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Mohammad Qadeer has been ordered to pay nearly £4,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to five offences of failing to comply with EU food safety and hygiene regulations.

He admitted the five breaches at Cambridge Crown Court last week (June 17).

The prosecution was brought by Fenland District Council. It followed a series of visits to the Tandoori Hut in Norfolk Street by the council's senior environmental health officer in 2014 and 2015.

Mr Qadeer was given all the appropriate guidance and ample time to put things right. He was also given several warnings. Initially some improvements were made but standards then slipped again.

When the officer visited again on September 2, 2015, he found numerous breaches of the regulations. They included:

  • Potentially harmful cooked Tandoori chicken not stored in a fridge but in an open container at room temperature

  • Cooked and fresh food stored together

  • A sink full of unwashed dishes left overnight

  • Grimy cutting boards and unhygienic utensils

  • Dirty plastic containers on a shelf containing food debris

  • A dirty pizza slicer

  • A fridge and microwave not properly cleaned.

Mr Qadeer had also failed to ensure that staff received the necessary training and had not kept a proper record of safety checks, the court heard.

Prosecutor Simon Hunka said that having the cooked Tandoori chicken in an open container posed "a clear risk": "It might be served later that day to an unsuspecting customer who could contract salmonella."

The court heard that Mr Qadeer of Cromwell Road, Peterborough, was no longer in charge at the Tandoori Hut.

He was fined a total of £1,500 and ordered to pay the council's full costs of £2,319 within 12 months or face 35 days' imprisonment in default. He also has to pay a £120 victim surcharge.

Passing sentence, the judge said: "The regulations are there to protect the public. When they go to a takeaway they are entitled to expect that the food they buy is safe, particularly the storage and cooking of chicken.

"Salmonella from chicken can be not only unpleasant but serious, so breaches such as these are taken seriously."

Earlier Mr Qadeer had said: "I would like to say sorry for the things that have happened. I couldn't run the business properly. I didn't do anything intentionally or on purpose."

Article added June 22, 2016