RAW ducks surrounded by flies dripping blood onto a freezer, mouse droppings and food left for unknown periods of time at room temperature were just some of the hygiene issues found by environmental health officers at a ‘notorious’ Chinese tea bar.
Recorder Barry McElduff told owner Chunyin Peng in Portsmouth Crown Court that it was ‘blind luck’ that there were no reports of anyone getting seriously ill after eating at the Hong Kong Tea Bar in Lake Road.
After an inspection in August last year, officers from Portsmouth City Council’s environmental health team granted the eatery zero out of five for its hygiene standards and was told to clean up its act.
Prosecutor Duncan Milne said: ‘An inspector observed six ducks that were hung on a rail above a chest freezer and they were dripping blood and water. He observed flies resting on the ducks. The chef put them in the chest freezer and they were raw and unwrapped.
‘When [the inspector] looked in the freezer he could see other food boxes were contaminated by blood.’
This isn’t the first time the business has been in trouble with the courts and Ms Peng was convicted over four food safety offences in 2017.
The 41-year-old took over the business in 2015 after her brother-in-law Ah Chau Wong, who previously ran the restaurant, was fined and banned for a number of the same offences.
Ms Peng, who was in China from August last year until April this year, pleaded guilty in August this year to five counts of failing to comply with EU provision concerning food safety and hygiene and three counts of failing to comply with hygiene improvement notices.
Defending, Jason Halsey explained that Ms Peng hadn’t been present at the business as she had been in China with her husband undergoing fertility treatment as the pair had struggled to start a family.
Mr Halsey said: ‘[Ms Peng] knows it was her responsibility. It was her business and the buck stops with her. She had put everything else on the back burner and she took her eye off the ball.’
Recorder McElduff issued a hygiene prohibition order banning Ms Peng from being in food management until a further order.
During sentencing he said: ‘It is a business with a notorious history. Notorious in that this is the third set of convictions in the last five years. There was a high risk of serious effect on individuals and the number does not matter. One is too many.’
She was also given a six-month sentence suspended for 18 months, ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work within 12 months and pay £3,148.50 in costs as well as a victim surcharge.