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Food Premises Sent Stern Message From Judge

Food Premises Sent Stern Message From Judge

A Manukau District Court Judge sent a stern message to all food premises owners when he convicted and fined the owner of the Eastern Palace Restaurant $6670 (including Court costs) for breaches of the Food Regulations, Food Hygiene Regulations and Manukau City Bylaws.

In his ruling, Judge Treston commented on the risk to public health, the extensive list of breaches and the history of poor hygiene practices at the Eastern Palace and said that a stern message needed to be sent to traders in the food industry.

The 20 charges related to incidents, which occurred in October 2002 and include (amongst others):

- Council's Environmental Health Officers having to give the manager lessons on how to wash dishes and to stack the dishwasher correctly

- the restaurant backyard was covered with dumped inorganic rubbish and paper litter

- the entire premises were in a very dirty state. The cooking area that held the woks and ovens was black with congealed fatty condensate and the waste trough behind the woks was full of food scraps and was black with grime. The floor throughout the entire premises (including the carpeted restaurant area) was black with grime and the vinyl flooring in the kitchen showed a build up of dirt and grime

- the meat slicer was caked with dried food pieces and was brown with dirt. The shelves and bench tops of the working tables were black with grime and food dirt

- no soap, nailbrush or hand towels were provided at the wash basin in the kitchen

- food stored in the refrigerator was not covered so as to protect it from contamination

- no hot water being provided to all sinks, wash hand basin in the kitchen and cleaner's tub

- no Grading Certificate being displayed on the premises.

Manukau City Council's, Environmental Health Team Leader Ian Milnes while satisfied with the ruling is disappointed that Council has had to go to Court.

Mr Milnes says, "Council will continue to prosecute premises that continue to put the public at risk through inadequate food hygiene practices. Food premises owners should also take note that the restaurant was fined $250 plus court costs of $130 for failing to display their E grade certificate at the time of inspection.

"Food premises owners are required to display their certificate. If one is not displayed then the public need to ask why and request to see the current certificate", says Mr Milnes.

Council will now take the necessary steps to determine if the Certificate of Registration for the Eastern Palace Restaurant will be revoked.

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