A West Bridgford restaurant has been left with a bill close to £7,500 after an investigation found its kitchen was infested with rats and left in filthy conditions to prepare food for customers.
The Taj Lounge on Radcliffe Road was inspected in May last year by Rushcliffe Borough Council’s environmental health team who were alarmed to witness the visible presence of rodents in its kitchen, storage and food preparation areas, accompanied by facilities thick in dirt and mould.
The authority prosecuted owners Mr and Mrs Singh on Wednesday (March 13) after poor practices were observed at the restaurant where dirty flooring, handles, taps and food containers all posed a risk of contamination to food.
Mr Singh and the chef were both unsure on safe procedures for cleaning and disinfection, meaning food areas and chopping boards were dirty, with continued poor levels of cleanliness evident throughout the premises.
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Deputy Leader Cllr Debbie Mason said the fine should serve as an important warning for businesses who fail to prioritise their food hygiene responsibilities appropriately.
She said: “Running a food business in this unhygienic manner is completely unacceptable and needlessly places customers, residents and other businesses at risk.
“We will not hesitate in prosecuting those who allow their establishments to operate with a disregard for their customer’s health and such poor standards of food and safety hygiene.”
The restaurant received a 0 rating, meaning that urgent improvement was required, after environmental health officers noted rodent droppings and gnawed newspapers which had provided nesting materials for rats.
On a subsequent inspection a month later, Mr Singh admitted all of the offences and his mistakes and conceded they should not have happened after significant and similar issues were still apparent.
Mr Singh also explained that he had not received formal training since 2013 but claimed he had trained using videos on YouTube before the inspection.
Mr and Mrs Singh pleaded guilty to seven counts of contravening The Food and Safety Hygiene Regulations (England) Act 2013, was fined £6,000, ordered to pay £1,324.60 towards prosecution costs and given a victim’s surcharge of £170, leaving a bill of £7,494.60.
The business has since introduced measures to improve its hygiene standard, rising to a three rating of satisfactory, two under the top five rating available for establishments providing food.
Since the inspection, they stated that they make checks every day and train their staff accordingly.