Enfield Council said a kebab shop’s failure to control a “genuinely disgusting pest infestation” in its kitchen was “utterly unacceptable” after cockroaches were found swarming over food preparation and storage areas.
EBM Catering Ltd, which trades as Ponders End Kebab, and its director, Kazim Recber, pleaded guilty to 15 offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene act after being prosecuted by Enfield Council.
Both the company and the director were fined £436, ordered to pay half each of the Council’s costs £3,283.12 and a victim surcharge of £43 each, or a total of £4,241.12.
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulatory Services, Cllr George Savva, said: “This was a genuinely disgusting pest infestation which this business failed utterly to control. Our Food Safety Officers found cockroaches within minutes of arriving on site and found plenty of evidence that they had managed to get into food packages, food preparation areas and storage areas.
“The huge population of cockroaches on site posed a imminent risk to public health and their presence was compounded by inadequate cleaning practices with dirt, food debris and cockroach faeces found in food storage and preparation areas.
“Furthermore, after the business had voluntarily closed to get its house in order, we subsequently found a rat infestation on site, which highlighted the businesses inability to control pests and we decided it was in the public’s interest to prosecute.”
Mr Savva said food businesses needed to understand that they are obligated to take the necessary measures to protect the public from harm.
“The lapses in food hygiene and pest control were utterly unacceptable and that was reflected in the sentence handed down by the court.”
The court heard how an officer from Enfield Council’s Food Safety Team visited the premises in August 2020 after receiving a complaint from a member of the public who had spotted a cockroach on the premises.
Officers saw live cockroaches within minutes of their arrival and multiple hygiene failings.
The Officer offered a Voluntary Closure Agreement to the business which was accepted.
The business remained closed for a few weeks until council officers re-inspected to check that the issues had been addressed and the risk to the public’s health had been removed.
However, in March 2021, the Food Safety Team visited the premises again to carry out a pre-arranged food hygiene inspection and found rat activity in food storage areas.
The council decided it was in the public interest to prosecute the company and its director for the continued failure to adequately control pests.
IMAGE CREDIT: Enfield Council