Magistrates have given the owners of a restaurant in Rugby a heavy fine after council food safety officers discovered a string of safety breaches.
Officers visited the Grosvenor Hotel, in Clifton Road, in March 2015 and found a host of hygiene issues, including mouldy seals on a sink, dirty fridges, and potatoes and onions stored next to a gully that was blocked with stagnant water.
The owner, Empyrean Enterprises Limited, was served two improvement notices which outlined a string of improvements which needed to be made to both the kitchen and the restaurant’s routine food safety checks.
Both notices were complied with.
But when officers returned to the restaurant in March 2016, the state of the kitchen had again deteriorated.
Officers found that a water pipe was dripping onto a food preparation table, tiles were cracked or missing, exposing the plaster beneath, and the kitchen insectocutor was so full of dead flies that it could no longer work.
There were dead flies lying next to open bags of flour, bare electrical cables were exposed, and debris from an uncovered hole in the ceiling could have fallen on crockery and cutlery stored below.
The kitchen gully was again blocked with stagnant water, and potatoes, onions and kitchen utensils were still stored nearby.
When officers visited for a third time in May 2016, food hygiene standards were still unsatisfactory. An overcoat was found in the kitchen’s only wash hand basin, suggesting staff were not washing their hands regularly, wall and floor tiles were still in poor condition, and the rainwater gully outside was blocked with onion peel and tissues.
At a hearing at Nuneaton Justice Centre on Tuesday, October 4, the company directors pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Food Safety Act 1990.
In mitigation, the court was told that the directors had made a substantial loan to the business in order to allow it to trade, and had refurbished many of the hotel rooms.
The company admitted that the kitchen had been in a poor state when they had taken over the business two years ago, but had put money in to renovate.
The court was told that the company had admitted the offences at the first opportunity and had cooperated fully with the council’s investigation.
Empyrean Enterprises was fined £1,000 for each offence - a total of £7,000 - and was ordered to pay £3,160 costs, and a £100 victim surcharge.
Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for sustainable environment, said: “Food businesses that cut corners on hygiene put the public’s health at risk and we have no hesitation in prosecuting businesses which refuse to work with us to meet safety standards.
“Our food safety team offers advice and support to businesses so owners can understand the legislation and the steps needed to meet hygiene standards.
“I’d urge all food businesses to contact us for help rather than risk a day in court.”
Businesses can contact the council’s food safety team on 01788 533851 or email firstname.lastname@example.org