Takeaway owner fined for food hygiene breaches

Takeaway owner fined for food hygiene breaches
15 April 2019

The owner of a Darlington takeaway has been fined and ordered to pay costs totalling more than £3,800 after admitting three food hygiene offences.

Officers from Darlington Borough Council’s environmental health team carried out an inspection at Bigger Better Burgers, in Whessoe Road, on 26 September 2018 following a complaint from a customer who claimed to have been served a burger that was not thoroughly cooked.

Inspectors found:

  • the premises and equipment were ‘extremely’ dirty
  • there was no hot water to the upstairs staff toilet area and the wash hand basin in the kitchen was extremely dirty and not in regular use
  • food safety records had not been completed for almost a year.

A letter was sent to the premises the following day explaining the conditions found and that it was to be given a hygiene score of zero – the lowest score possible.

Officers visited the premises again on 4 October 2018 and found that the cleanliness of the premises had improved but the hot water in the staff toilet area was still not working.

On 24 October, the owner, Adam Khalid Ali, was interviewed about the offences but gave no reasonable excuse for the conditions found.

Adam Khalid Ali, 35, of Cockerton Green, Darlington, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three breaches of food hygiene regulations – failing to keep the premises clean, failing to keep equipment clean and failing to implement a food safety system.

On Friday (12 April) a warrant was issued for his arrest when he left the court before the matter was heard. He handed himself in to police later that day and appeared before Peterlee Magistrate’s Court on Saturday (13 April) when he was fined £1,066 for each offence and ordered to pay £525 costs and £106 Victim Surcharge.

The magistrate’s took into account his early guilty plea, but the matter was aggravated by  the fact he had previously been prosecuted by Darlington Borough Council in May 2014 for similar offences relating to food premises known as ‘The Green’ in Cockerton Green, Darlington. The court heard he also had a poor food rating record with the council.

A spokesman for Darlington Borough Council’s Environmental Health team, said after the case:

“Although the vast majority of catering premises in Darlington comply with food hygiene regulations, the owner of this business had failed to maintain standards.

“This case sends a message to food business owners in Darlington that there will be consequences if they choose to cut corners when it comes to the important issue of hygiene.”

All businesses that serve food have a hygiene rating. They can be accessed via the council’s website at www.darlington.gov.uk/foodhygiene