THE BOSS of a Chinese takeaway has been fined almost £2,500 after an unexpected inspection revealed ‘a completely chaotic picture’ and a health risk.
Golden Boat in Cosham shut on the spot when environmental health inspectors found cooling food had been left out uncovered for hours, walls and floors needed deep cleaning and repairing and grease was leaking from the extractor system.
Haixia Ren, 39, of Albert Road, Cosham, pleaded guilty to five food safety and hygiene offences at Portsmouth’s Magistrates’ Court and was fined £2,250.
Speaking on behalf of Portsmouth City Council in court, Jenny Ager said on August 24 last year inspectors responded to concerns of a pest infestation at the Northern Road premises.
‘They didn’t find any but what they did find was of great concern,’ she said.
‘Staff were told they had to reduce the risk of E-coli contamination. Defrosting food was left out and not put in the fridge.
‘Cooling food needs to be kept below 8C, temperatures were between 16C and 20C and the food was left out in unsatisfactory conditions.
‘Food in the fridge was uncovered and was on the floor in the fridge, back doors were left wide open, meaning flies could have contaminated the food.
‘There were cracked wall and floor tiles and bin lids, and cooking equipment needed cleaning.
‘Outside at the back grease was leaking from the extractor system.’
When inspectors arrived just before 5.30pm they discovered the food in the containers had been cooling since 1pm.
Ren had travelled home to China to have a tumour removed from her breast at the time of the inspection.
Miss Ager added: ‘Miss Ren has overall responsibility for the premises but staff didn’t seem to know who was in charge.
‘There was an incredible lack of hygiene throughout, it was a completely chaotic picture.’
Miss Ren’s solicitor, Adrian Dodd, said the woman had studied marketing at the University of Portsmouth.
‘After her degree she was persuaded to take over the business in June 2017 as a single parent, with no experience in takeaways or restaurants,’ he said.
‘She thought she could run the business and look after her daughter.
‘She knew the premises wasn’t clean but when she took over she found a tumour in her breast and returned to China to have surgery to remove it – she was there for a month.
‘Things went to rack and ruin while she was away and once she was alerted to how bad things were she rectified the situation.’
He added: ‘Ignorance is no defence but she was new to business and didn’t realise how much responsibility was required, and no-one suffered.’
Inspectors returned on August 25, 2017 and found cleanliness and conditions had improved.
Golden Boat was allowed to reopen on August 30, but staff were told the place still needed work. A further inspection was carried out on October 11.
On February 8 this year the business was re-inspected and given a hygiene rating of 4.
Magistrates fined Ren £450 for each offence – food not being protected from contamination, failing to implement an effective food safety management system and failing to ensure staff were effectively supervised and trained in food hygiene matters.
She was also fined for kitchen equipment not being properly cleaned and kept in good conditions and because the extractor, doors, floors and walls were not in good condition or easy to clean.
Magistrates, Mr Audus and Mrs Gordon, ordered Ren to pay £1,000 towards the council’s cost in bringing the case and a £45 victim surcharge – bringing the total to £3,295.
Miss Ren’s solicitor said she mother wanted to close the business when she first took it over to get things into shape but could not afford to shut it as she still needed to pay the building’s rent.