A Salford take away owner has been fined for failing to deal with rats at his premises.
Sajid Ali, who runs Freddy’s Chicken and Pizza, Church Street, Eccles, was told in September 2020 by a pest control contractor that action needed to be taken to keep the pests out of the shop.
Yet a routine food hygiene inspection four months later found he had failed to act, as rat droppings were clearly visible in food handling areas and on both the ground and first floors and the premises had not been properly cleaned for some time.
Mr Ali, sole director of William Fast Food Ltd, the company behind the takeaway appeared at Salford and Manchester magistrates court on January 13, 2022 and pleaded guilty to three offences of failing to keep the premises clean, failing to have adequate procedures in place to control pests and failing to implement effective monitoring procedures as part of the food safety management system. The offences fall under The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
The company was fined £6,000 with £731 costs and a victim surcharge of £34. Mr Ali was fined £115 with £731 costs and a victim surcharge of £34.
The court heard that an environmental health officer from Salford City Council visited the premises on January 26, 2021 to carry out a routine audit. However, it quickly turned into a full inspection because of the obvious rat infestation, general poor hygiene practices and standard of cleanliness.
Rat droppings were found throughout the premises and several gaps and access points where rats could get in were identified. Records show the pest control contractor who regularly visited had identified areas of the premises which needed rat proofing back in September 2020. If proper cleaning and checks had been in place this would have been dealt with.
Grease and food debris was building up on surfaces, at wall and floor junctions and food equipment and the room being used to prepare pizza dough was completely unsuitable due to the standard of cleaning and poor structure. It was apparent regular cleaning was not carried out at the business.
The daily diary to record premises checks and cleaning was missing and although a food hygiene manual was available procedures were not being implemented effectively by Mr. Ali or his staff otherwise the issues with pests, cleaning and cross-contamination of food would have been identified and dealt with.
In March 2020 the government introduced COVID regulations and while take away food businesses were permitted to trade, they should have been following even stricter and more effective cleaning regimes.
Mr Ali agreed to voluntarily close the business and was allowed to re-open after after the whole premises had been deep cleaned, rat proofing work had been completed and pest treatment carried out. A hygiene improvement notice was served on the company, requiring a documented food safety management system to be implemented, which was subsequently complied with.
Mr. Ali was given a chance to explain how the issues were allowed to occur but to date no explanation has been received.
Speaking after the case, Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment, neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “Take away food businesses are subject to strict hygiene laws to protect the public and the vast majority of Salford businesses understand and comply with that.
“Those that don’t, that fail to clean properly and ignore problems, will be dealt with. I hope this serves as a warning to anyone thinking of playing fast and loose with the law.”