The owner of a takeaway in Neston has been ordered to pay fines and costs totaling more than £5,000 after falling foul of food hygiene regulations.
Keung Lau, 63, of Littleton Close, Prenton, pleaded guilty to 10 offences under food safety and hygiene legislation committed at The Oriental Flavour, High Street, Neston.
West Cheshire Magistrates’ Court heard that, despite several visits from Environmental Health and Regulatory Services officers, the Neston premises remained in a filthy condition with risk of contamination.
Kitchen equipment was in poor condition, cooked rice was found stored at room temperature for six and half hours after it had been cooked, and food on sale was beyond its expiry date.
Mr Lau was fined £3,000 on Thursday, September 21 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,447.50 along with a victim surcharge of £120, making a total payable of £5,567.50.
In court Mr Lau’s solicitors explained that the offences occurred due to personal circumstances, namely the impact of the death of his wife from cancer, and having to visit his son who was ill in China after suffering a brain haemorrhage.
Mr Lau co-operated during the investigation and made improvements. The premises have since been given a food hygiene rating of three – generally satisfactory.
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s cabinet member for environment, councillor Karen Shore, said: “"We're pleased the court recognised the seriousness of these food hygiene breaches. We do understand that people go through difficult times, but hygiene and health must come first.
"To protect the safety of residents and visitors to the borough, we want to work with business owners wherever possible and only use prosecution as a last resort.
“This case highlights the importance of safe food management practices – this is crucial if food businesses are to achieve a level five food hygiene rating.
"We hope this sends a clear message to businesses who do not respond to our advice and support; we will take enforcement action if you don't comply with the law.
"It also serves as a reminder to check food hygiene ratings displayed in food business' windows or online before eating out.”
All ratings are published online at: ratings.food.gov.uk.
See full story in the Chester Leader