A record-breaking fine of nearly £40,000 was issued to a heedless takeaway owner last week for crimes against food safety after a cockroach infestation and other filthy food violations were discovered.
Kaival Ashokbhai Patel, who owns Taste of Gujarat on Ealing Road, voluntarily closed the takeaway in April 2021 after Environmental Health Officers found an active cockroach infestation in the fridge, food preparation and storage areas following a complaint of a dead cockroach in the food.
Officers were also appalled to find cooked food irresponsibly stored in cardboard boxes at room temperature and a string of other food safety failures, all of which could cause serious illness. The business had no running hot water so staff could not wash their hands, equipment or food properly.
The business was allowed to reopen after it decontaminated the premises and could show improvements had been made. However, owing to its extremely poor hygiene record, having closed three times between 2014 to 2020 for unsafe conditions, Mr Patel was summoned to court to face 12 hygiene offences and pleaded guilty to all charges.
The magistrates were horrified by the state of the food business with the evidence showing clear ignorance by Mr Patel and persistent non-compliance. He was fined £2,933 for each offence, prosecution costs of £3,888 and a victim surcharge of £190.
This is the highest penalty awarded in the London Borough of Brent for food hygiene violations.
A Prohibition Order was also issued, banning Mr Patel from managing a food business until 2025.
Cllr Knight, Lead Member for Community Safety and Engagement at Brent Council, said:
"The majority of high street food businesses in Brent have a good hygiene rating, however, there are a minority which operate in a dirty and dangerous manner, putting the health of customers at risk and this is simply unacceptable.
"It should be crystal clear to anybody, but especially a food business owner, that you should not be serving food from a kitchen riddled with cockroaches.
"Our Food Safety Team does not tolerate those who put the community at risk of harm and the penalty issued in this case shows that the court takes this very seriously too."