5 August 2014

Chips are down for city take-away

A complaint about a deep fried cockroach found in the bottom of a bag of chips led to a discovery of shocking food hygiene conditions at a city take-away, including an infestation of rats.

Food hygiene officers from Brighton & Hove City Council visiting Cod Plus in Whitehawk Road, found evidence of rats along with filthy equipment and inadequate food hygiene measures.

Business owner Asif Javaid appeared at Brighton Magistrates court yesterday (August 4) where he pleaded not guilty to four food hygiene related charges.

However, Javaid was convicted of charges of:

* failing to have adequate procedures in place to control pests

* Failing to keep food premises clean and in good repair and condition

* Failing to ensure that food handlers were supervised, instructed or trained in food hygiene matters

He was fined £1,000, ordered to pay costs of £1,500 and £100 victim surcharge.

Javaid was found not guilty of a fourth charge of failing to put in place, implement and maintain permanent procedures based on HACCP principles (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.)

Len Batten, prosecuting on behalf of Brighton & Hove City Council told the court that on September 3 last year, Brighton & Hove City Council’s food hygiene team received a complaint from the member of the public alleging that they had found a deep fried cockroach in a portion of chips bought from Cod Plus.

Officers visited the premises to investigate the allegations and to identify areas to set insect traps.

During the inspection, officers found old and fresh rodent droppings in the internal food store and in the area used to store the rubbish bins.

They also found old congealed fat and food debris on the underside of chip fryers, old food stuck on the inside of the microwave and a container filled with brown smelly fluid which smelt of sewage.

Despite warnings, fresh rodent droppings were found in the external area during a second visit, and on a further visit officers were informed that two adult rats had been caught in traps.

Javaid told the court he had suffered racial abuse following the publicity from the first hearing and had stones thrown through his windows.

Deputy Chair of Environment, Sustainability and Transport Committee, Cllr Lizzie Deane said: “When a member of the public comes to us with a complaint we will always investigate and, where necessary, work with the owner and staff to help them solve the problem. However, when business owners fail to work with us and the problems persist, we are left with no alternative but to intervene.

“Prosecution is always the last resort, and while we are appalled to hear Mr Javaid’s claims of racial abuse following last year’s court hearing, we will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that residents and visitors can eat safely in our city.”