Council officers swoop on unregistered Essex catering firm after tip-offs from neighbours

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: A Food Standards Agency rating certificate is pictured in the window of a restaurant on February 9, 2015 in London, England. Claims have been made that some restaurants are ignoring food hygiene standards ratings. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

An unregistered catering business in Essex was the subject of an ‘emergency closure’ after officials deemed it at risk of spreading dangerous bacteria due to no hot water.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council sprung into action after EHOs carried out an unannounced visit to CLD Essex Limited last week following reports from neighbours that the premises were being used as an unregistered food business.

When they arrived, officers found the premises to be lacking hot water, hand-washing facilities and having inadequate facilities for cleaning and disinfecting work tools and equipment.

On Friday, Rochford and Southend magistrates confirmed the enforcement action taken by the Environmental Health Officers in closing the premises and issued a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order and CLD Essex Ltd was ordered to pay £650 costs.

The business owner subsequently surrendered all food at the premises and paid for it to be destroyed.

Over the weekend, the business has carried out substantial improvements to its premises, including the installation of a running hot water supply and hand basins and the purchase of disinfectant supplies.

The property was re-inspected by officers on Monday and allowed to re-open after they were found to have removed the health risk.

Measures have been taken for the business to be duly registered, which means it will now be subject to a regular regime of inspections so that Environmental Health Officers can ensure it is operating to the required food-hygiene standards.

Cllr Tony Cox, Executive Councillor for Public Protection, Waste and Regulatory Services, said: “The lack of hot water at the premises meant that staff couldn’t effectively wash food equipment or their hands, so bacteria from handling raw meat or going to the toilet could have contaminated other foods, such as breads, cheese cakes and sauces that were also being prepared at the premises.

“These bacteria include salmonella and E-coli, which can have very serious consequences for anyone who ingests them. Our swift and decisive action has protected the public and ensured that necessary improvements were quickly acted upon so that the business could operate safely.”

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