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Food safety news round-up: £175k fine after oven explosion, shop fined for out of date meat and rat


An Indian restaurant in Cradley Heath has been fined £175k after a chef suffered serious burns when an oven exploded in his face.

A faulty oven was to blame, at the Alachi International Restaurant in Highgate Street. It was found to be leaking gas and had no ignition switch, an investigation also found that the oven was being turned on and off using a set of pliers and had to be lit using a flaming piece of paper.

The pipework – which was held together by foam and sticky tape – was also leaking gas which ignited when the chef attempted to light it in November 2017. His clothing caught fire and he sustained burns to his face, ears, hands and arms which were treated in hospital.

Former director Khalid Hussain and former manager Mahbubur Rahman Chowdhury were handed prison sentences after being told by the judge they had shown “flagrant disregard” for the law.

Safety checks found that the flame failure devices on other gas appliances in the restaurant’s kitchen were either missing or had been bypassed.

Hussain, Chowdhury and Alachi Restaurant Limited were prosecuted by Sandwell Council’s environmental health and legal teams and appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court for sentencing.

Both the defendants and the company pleaded guilty to ten health and safety offences in total, including that the oven was unsafe and that Gas Safe regulations had been breached.

Alachi Restaurant Limited was fined a total of £175,000 and ordered to pay £4,300 towards costs.

Sentencing, Recorder Hegarty QC stated that the offences were so serious that only a custodial sentence would suffice.

However, he was persuaded to suspend the sentences for two years.

Each defendant was also ordered to pay £4,000 in costs and sentenced to a total of 38 months in prison for the various offences, to run concurrently for 10 months, suspended for two years.

The defendants were also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and were disqualified from acting as director or management for five years.

The restaurant is now under new ownership.

Shop owner fined after meat found up to 33 days out of date

A shop owner has been fined more than £2,000 after displaying meat more than a month past the expiry date.

Inspection teams found 34 out of date items, including Polish smoked sausages, salami, turkey pizza ham, meat loaves and bacon, at Warszawa convenience store in Caldmore Green, Caldmore, Walsall.

The items were found to be past their use by dates by a range of four to 33 days.

Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court was told that Walsall Council Trading Standards seized the items when officers visited on 6 November 2018, but 22 days later officers found another meat product was on display that was six days past its use by date.

Owner Soran Jalal Mohammed first accused council officers of “planting” the old meat item in his chiller, before stating that a customer “must have taken one of his food items and later left it in his shop.”

Mr Mohammed admitted displaying food in shop chillers and baskets that was significantly past its use by date.

The court heard that the items seized had posed a serious risk of food poisoning to the public and in a couple of cases the food was over a month out of date.

He pleaded guilty to 14 separate food safety offences and was fined a total of £2,233 including court costs – with two of his most serious breaches receiving a £700 fine each.

Filthy Hayes supermarket had mouse and rat droppings and sold out of date food

A supermarket in Hayes has been been fined after rat droppings and out of date food was discovered, following a complaint by a member of the public.

Investigators inspectors discovered vegetable and chicken samosas, packs of pepperoni and meatballs past their “use by” date, and mouse and rat droppings under shelves.

Employees were found not to have “basic food hygiene knowledge”, including an understanding of what temperatures perishable foods should be kept at.

The council prosecuted the shop for selling food past its use by date and for failing to keep the shop clean and free from pests under Food Safety & Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

Amar Singh Superstore Ltd, which trades as Dawley News and Booze, and its former director Sandip Singh Arora, 20, of Osterley Park Road, Southall, were given fines and ordered to pay costs totalling £7,775 at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Monday 16 December.

Arora received £2,793 in fines, including a financial penalty of £466 for each offence equalling a fine of £1,864.

He must also pay a victim surcharge of £47 and a contribution to half of Hillingdon Council’s prosecution costs of £882.

Amar Singh Superstore Ltd was fined £4,982, including a financial penalty of £1,000 for each offence equalling a fine of £4,000.

The company must pay a victim surcharge of £100, and a contribution to the other half of the council’s prosecution costs of £882.



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