TAKEAWAY owners are being urged to clean up their act or face losing their livelihood.
It comes after businesses across Portsmouth have faced prosecutions and hefty fines over poor hygiene.
Now Albert Choi, Portsmouth Chinese Association chairman and owner of Noble House in Osborne Road, Southsea, wants takeaway and restaurant owners to club together, get trained and keep trading.
Chinese takeaways met on Monday to undergo training following Portsmouth City Council prosecuting an increasing number of food firms.
Mr Albert Choi put on the workshop in Kingston Road, Buckland.
Around 16 people representing 10 businesses attended with food handling training put on. Everyone who attended passed the course.
Mr Choi told The News: ‘Instead of beating them with a big stick or prosecuting them or giving them trouble, which generally might give the food operator an image of them coming down hard on them, we’re trying to work with them. If they do the work in advance, when environmental health turn up they find it’s completely okay or very little to do.
‘In turn it protects the Chinese community that I care for.’
Joseph Chan, owner of Alpha Amazing Chinese Takeaway, in Kingston Road, said he urged other firms to take the training. He said: ‘I went there because the hygiene is very important for the customer.
‘Any company with food definitely needs to do the hygiene course.’
Mosud Ahmed, president of Hampshire and Isle of Wight’s Bangladesh Caterers’ Association, said it has plans to train workers at takeaways and restaurants under its organisation.
Mr Ahmed, who runs businesses in Hayling Island and in Fareham, said: ‘Staff training is important for the restaurants. We’ll be organising that in the future, we’ve got a meeting next week and we’ll arrange something.’
Environmental health told owners on Monday what they expect from food business operators and how they look at hygiene practice, structure and management. They gave five key points on how firms can improve.
This was translated by the association’s interpreter to help understanding.
Firefighters from Hampshire Fire and Rescue gave information about a business proprietor’s fire safety responsibilities.
The city council has prosecuted 19 food businesses since 2012, with five in 2014, 2015 and 2016 so far. Two were prosecuted in both 2012 and 2013.
Good Fortune in High Street, Old Portsmouth, was prosecuted in June with Chong Jun Zhang, 43, of Welch Road, Gosport, fined £300 and his firm Good Fortune Restaurant Ltd fined £4,000.
Inspectors found a live lobster in a washing up bowl in the sink, mouse droppings in the kitchen and bin liners full of grease on July 20 last year.
ALL food businesses – sandwich shops, pubs, hotels and restaurants – are given ratings after hygiene inspections.
Firms are given ratings from zero to five, with standards set by the Food Standards Agency.
Inspectors look at how food is handled, the structure of the building including cleanliness, and what the firm does to ensure food is safe.
A zero rating means urgent improvement is required. Firms are given advice on how to reach very good - rating five.
There are currently seven food businesses with zero ratings in Portsmouth.
If the standard is so serious, inspectors at Portsmouth City Council’s environmental health team can shut the firm or prosecute, leading to fines, a ban on running food businesses or even jail.
‘Getting a zero rating will damage business’
FAILING to keep on top of hygiene can have disastrous consequences for customers and businesses, an expert who trains workers has said.
Aneta Orlowska, director of GlobeUs Training, taught at the workshop on Monday.
Ms Orlowska said: ‘If it’s not done properly it can be very serious, especially with people’s allergies. They can poison a customer by not cooking food properly to the required temperature.
‘It’s important to the business that they comply with the law, that they give the customer food which is safe and free from any hazard and doesn’t poison the customer.
‘If they get a zero rating they would get an improvement notice and the inspector would come back, and if they don’t improve their rating they can get closed or go bankrupt.
‘People will be unemployed and (restaurants can get) a really bad reputation for the area. It’s potentially a loss of business and customers, and closing down. People are also not happy working in such businesses.’
Ms Orlowska said all food handlers have to be trained. She teaches about microbiological hazards, customers’ allergies, and labelling food and chemical hazards among other things.