GRIM conditions at a food shop have landed a business owner with more than £7,000 to pay after inspectors discovered how filthy it was.
Osman Ahmed was told by magistrates his efforts to clean up Dylan Food Stores in Fratton Road, Fratton, Portsmouth, were ‘too little, too late’.
The 44-year-old must pay £7,356.13 over 11 charges under food safety law.
Inspectors at Portsmouth City Council inspected the shop, which also prepares naan bread, and found raw meat stored next to ready-to-eat food.
Ahmed had become the owner on October 20, 2014 with the shop inspected in November 18 of that year.
But Jenny Ager, prosecuting, said Ahmed was previously the manager and was aware of the shop’s condition.
She said: ‘The shop has a history of poor hygiene, poor structure and poor management over a number of years.’
A food safety management system was not held at the shop, Ahmed had failed a food safety course in 2013 and staff were not trained, either.
Rubbish was piled in a rear yard, a dirty cloth was used to clean the oven and a seal was broken in a chiller.
Ahmed – who released photos of his cleaned-up shop to The News – had failed to make full improvements despite being ordered to twice by the council, which then prosecuted him.
Sentencing, chairman of the bench Peter Mellor, said: ‘You have a responsibility to the public to ensure that the food they buy and consume is safe.
‘There are clear standards that are set out and expected by the council and unfortunately this shop failed to meet those standards sufficiently for about five years.
‘One might have been more sympathetic if you’d just bought the business and come into it to an unknown situation but you’ve either been the manager or the owner through that prolonged period of time.
‘We’ve heard of a litany of failures and despite instruction and orders for your to improve matters it’s only very recently that you seem to have done so.
‘For some years that shop has shown a blatant disregard for the health and safety not only of its staff but its customers.’
He added: ‘We were told that prosecution for the council is the very last resort, so the improvements that you’ve finally made whilst welcome are too little, too late.’
At Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court Ahmed pleaded guilty to 11 charges under the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013 – nine relating to failing to comply with EU Hygiene Regulations and two of failing to comply with hygiene improvement notices.
In mitigation, Daniel Reilly said Kurdish Ahmed, of Buckingham Green, Buckland, Portsmouth, fled Iraq in 2003 following the conflict and was working hard with his family.
‘He knows that him having a difficult time is not a defence,’ he said
‘But those were the circumstances at the time.
‘He hasn’t dealt with matters as quickly as everyone would but to some extent it’s a little more difficult with the language situation.’
Ahmed has now completed the correct course covering food safety and cleaned up the shop.