Inspectors find mouse infestation at Portsmouth restaurant
GRIMY walls, food left out in a kitchen and poor pest control led to a mouse infestation at a popular restaurant.
Conditions at Hong Kong Tea Bar were so poor that a council environmental health inspector briefly shut the Lake Road eatery so bosses could carry out urgent work.
Now magistrates have ordered sole director Chunyin Peng, 39, to pay nearly £2,800 in fines and costs after she admitted a raft of hygiene offences.
Jenny Ager, prosecuting, said: ‘The officers found on that day that hygiene standards were very poor.
‘The kitchen equipment and hand contact surfaces and food storage areas were not clean.
‘There was a significant risk of contamination of food. They found that there’s a contract in place and a manager was aware there was a mouse infestation; however, the recommendations made by the contractor had not been followed.’
Photos shown to magistrates in court show raw ducks hanging in store rooms at room temperature, meat in buckets on top of a chest freezer and an open drain under the kitchen sink, which could let in pests.
It is the second time the restaurant has been in court, with the previous food business operator banned from running it in February 2015.
The court heard Peng, of Church Road, Portsmouth, had spent a lot of time overseas in China due to a medical condition.
She was not present on November 11, 2015, when the inspection took place. All the charges stem from this visit.
Portsmouth City Council’s inspector had returned and improvements had been made.
Vinyl covers on walls and flooring were installed.
Peng was issued a warning letter on November 14 last year to make some improvements, but not all were done.
She admitted four charges under Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, which were: premises not kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition; food not protected from contamination; inadequate procedures in place to control pests from access to food; not implemented an effective food safety management system.
Peng was fined £1,200 on the first charge, with a £120 victim surcharge and £1,436.51 city council costs.
The court heard the restaurant, which has a hygiene rating of two but a Trip Advisor rating of four, had spent £10,000 to £15,000 on improvements. Magistrates gave no penalty on the other charges.
Magistrate Kevin Head said: ‘These laws are in place for a very good reason. You are preparing and serving food to members of the public in Portsmouth and when they come to your premises they expect the food you serve them with to be prepared and delivered to them in an environment and using processes that are safe.’
Cllr Robert New, cabinet member for environment and community safety, said: ‘Any business which presents a serious risk to health will not be tolerated.’