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March 12, 2020

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Food safety

Food safety round-up: Trade butcher has been fined, Takeaway hit with £16k fine, Takeaway fails hygiene inspection and no evidence that food is a coronavirus source of or transmission route

A trade butcher has been fined for breaching food compliance regulations

County foodsEstablished in 2004, County Foods is a family run firm and supplier of products to businesses across Dorset.

Following an inspection by BCP Council in March 2018, enforcement officers found that the company were breaching an offence relating to the traceability of a meat product.

Managing Director of County Foods, Doron Krips, confirmed that the breach involved one of 400 lines and it concerned an issue with minced lamb, which was dealt with immediately.

The firm admitted the offence and said improvements and procedures have been made since the issue came to light.

Appearing at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 21 February, County Foods admitted a single count in relation to food safety and hygiene regulations. It was fined £1,200 and ordered to pay a £120 surcharge and £4436.41 costs.

Councillor Lewis Allison, BCP Council cabinet member for communities, said: “We are delighted with the fine that has been imposed upon County Foods which highlights the high standards we employ when we undertake any food safety inspection. Protecting the welfare of all our residents is of great importance to us and we hope this sends out a strong message to food premises who do not meet the required food safety standards.”

Mr Krips said: “This was an isolated incident. We have stringent food safety policies in place, took corrective actions and ensured that process and procedural improvements were implemented without delay.The court found that there was low culpability, and no harm to the consumer and that our processes were sound.”

“Since March 2018 we have been subjected to numerous official audits and inspections, planned and unannounced, all of which we have passed. As a company, we have a culture of ‘continuous improvement’ to ensure we are up to date with the latest industry thinking, processes and innovations.”

Takeaway fined nearly £16k for poor food hygiene offences

Takeaway restaurant, The Grill Hot & Spicy Piri, was shut temporarily following a routine hygiene inspection by a food and safety officer, in November 2018.

The Grill Hot & Spicy Piri Piri breached food and hygiene regulations and pleaded guilty to nine offences.

At Luton Magistrates Court, the company was fined £14,370 and Director, Mohammed Fayaz, 44, of St Ethelberts Avenue, Luton, was fined £1,513. This included a surcharge of £40 and £273.75 costs, on 20 February.

Since the closure, the takeaway has carried out all of the required improvements in food handling and hygiene practices, leading to a recent food hygiene rating of 4.

Cllr Aslam Khan, portfolio holder for public protection, said: “It is essential that food business owners take their responsibilities seriously when operating a food business and we’re pleased to see that significant improvements have been made.

“We expect good standards of cleanliness and maintenance in food premises to keep residents safe, and the majority in Luton do adhere to food hygiene regulations and do have high ratings in place. Our ‘Friday Fives; social media campaign demonstrates this, as do the ratings for food businesses on the food hygiene website.

“Any food premises and their owners face prosecution for continued non-compliance as we are ambitious for our town and its reputation, which includes great food offerings in our restaurants, takeaways and food retail outlets.”

Takeaway delivery fined £10,000 for failing hygiene inspection

The takeaway delivery restaurant, Home Run in Accrington, has been fined for breaching food and hygiene offences.

Following an inspection by Hyndburn Council, environmental health officers found that Home Run failed to adequately control pests, failed to keep the food business clean and failed to ensure food was protected against contamination.

Illah Limited, trading as Home Run admitted being in breach of eight food hygiene offences under food safety and hygiene regulations and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £3,400 costs and a victim surcharge, at Burnley Magistrates Court.

Executive Director of Hyndburn Council (environment), Steve Riley: “Following the completion of the new Town Square, the council is determined to raise the standard of the buildings along this important gateway into the town centre, including working with owners bringing back their empty building into use and ensuring food outlets provide safe food.

“In a very small number of cases, prosecution is the only option, especially where businesses have a blatant disregard to food safety or a history of non-compliance.”

“More than 95 per cent of food businesses across Hyndburn are currently compliant under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and environmental health officers work very closely with businesses to ensure they know the law and in most cases offer help, advice and some free training where we can”, Mr Riley concluded.

Director of Illah Ltd, Mohammed Shakeel, said: “We are appealing the court decision and the penalty, these alleged offences were more than 18 months ago. We are a small family business and we have worked hard with the council and its environmental health officers to clean everything up in the meantime. We have done whatever they asked.”

Coronavirus: no evidence that food is a source or transmission route

coronavirusEFSA is closely monitoring the situation regarding the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that is affecting a large number of countries across the globe. There is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.

EFSA’s Chief Scientist, Marta Hugas, said: “Experiences from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), show that transmission through food consumption did not occur. At the moment, there is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus is any different in this respect.”

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has said that while animals in China were the likely source of the initial infection, the virus is spreading from person to person – mainly via respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale.

Scientists and authorities across the world are monitoring the spread of the virus and there have not been any reports of transmission through food. For this reason, EFSA is not currently involved in the response to the COVID-19 outbreaks. However, they are monitoring the scientific literature for new and relevant information.

Regarding food safety, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued precautionary recommendations including advice on following good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation, such as washing hands, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods. More information can be found on the WHO website.

Watch: Top 5 most-read in fines and prosecutions in February 2020

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