The director of a Luton restaurant has been handed a four-month sentence – suspended for 12 months – for a string of hygiene offences.
Mei Xia Whiteley of May Tak Limited, which operated How Cha Noodle Bar, was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Luton Crown Court heard that in July 2018, a food safety officer carried out an inspection at How Cha Noodle Bar and found live cockroach activity, evidence of mouse activity and poor standards of cleanliness, structure and hygiene.
Live cockroaches were seen running from behind a wall shelf in the food preparation area and inside a cardboard box containing plastic bags, used for portions of prawn crackers.
Freezers were rusty with mouldy door seals, food containers were covered in grime and a chopping board was coated in grease.
Structurally, the food preparation area was described as “poor” – with the council stating that it was filthy and greasy with a damaged ceiling and peeling paint. Shelving was damaged and could not be effectively cleaned and disinfected.
The premises was closed immediately using Hygiene Emergency Prohibition powers.
Ms Whiteley pleaded guilty to the hygiene offences and was required to pay costs of £1,176 within 28 days.
The business is no longer in operation and is not connected to the How Cha Chinese and Thai premises, which has opened on the same street.
Cllr Aslam Khan, portfolio holder for public protection, said: “Food businesses in Luton are expected to adhere to the strict cleanliness, structural and hygiene standards set by law to keep customers safe and healthy. It is absolutely inexcusable not to operate a food business in a safe manner and to ignore pest activity on the premises from which they operate.
“We will always prosecute those putting people at risk in this way, to protect residents and make sure that food businesses are operating within the law. I’m pleased that such a high sentence has been given.”