THE owner of a ‘dangerous’ Chinese takeaway was slapped with a bill of £9,500 by magistrates after putting ‘public health at risk’.
An Lee Huu, operator of The Rising Sun in Kingston Road, Portsmouth, was warned he could face jail after his premises were found to have ‘significant problems with hygiene and cleanliness’.
The disturbing state of the takeaway, given just a ‘1’ food hygiene rating, led to it being shut down with it posing an ‘imminent health risk’ to customers.
The punishment comes just a month after the 42-year-old was dished up a £12,000 fine after zero-rated Panda Chinese in Wickham which he runs was also found to have failed food hygiene standards.
Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard how The Rising Sun was left in a dirty condition with potential for food contamination. Items were not covered or left at the right temperature, environmental officers of Portsmouth City Council found in October last year.
‘Equipment and surfaces were left in a very poor condition, there was significant grease and food debris where food was handled,’ prosecutor Ben Atrill said.
‘Rubbish was left in the rear yard increasing the risk of rodent activity, there was the threat of cross contamination, no hot water or soap and no documents for food safety management.
‘There was an absence of food safety and an imminent health risk due to food preparation.
‘Mr Huu voluntarily agreed to close the premises due to the public health risks.’
Following the inspection the takeaway was given a zero rating, resulting in Huu making some improvements – with it now operating at a rating of ‘1’.
But the prosecutor said: ‘The only improvements come after intervention from the council. There is an inability to manage and a repeat performance in the future likely.’
He added: ‘It’s possible food was served to vulnerable groups in dangerous conditions.’
Huu, giving evidence, said: ‘We have found a company to help coach us on food hygiene.’
When quizzed over whether he was involved in any other takeaways apart from The Rising Sun and Panda, the defendant denied he was. But an investigator, sitting in court, informed the court that Huu also runs King Chef in Cosham.
‘Are there any others you haven’t told us about?’ presiding magistrate Martin Horn asked Huu.
‘No,’ Huu replied.
Mr Horn said: ‘To close a premises down is very significant and it is evident from the photos there was a dereliction of duty that could have caused serious food poisoning.
‘It’s very clear you have made little efforts to improve with the rating going from zero to 1.’
Mr Horn then warned Hu, of Audrey Close, Portchester, he would be sent to jail if things didn’t improve. ‘If you come back here you know what will happen next time,’ he said.
Hu was given an £8,000 fine and told to pay costs of £1,346.14 and a surcharge of £180 after admitting eight charges of failing to comply with food hygiene standards.