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Mt Albert cafe convicted for poor food hygiene

Mt Albert cafe convicted for poor food hygiene

The owner of a Mt Albert cafe has been convicted and fined $5510 for food hygiene charges in the Auckland District Court, following prosecution by Auckland City.

The convictions and fines relate to Mo Mo Teahouse cafe at 930 New North Road, Mt Albert, owned by Green Land Ltd. The café featured recently on the television show, “The Inspectors”.

Green Land Ltd was convicted of 46 charges under the food hygiene regulations, on issues including: poor cleanliness and maintenance failing to keep the premises pest free – a cockroach infestation was discovered in the cafe no hand-washing facilities delays in necessary repair work to the floor smoking in kitchen and food preparation areas.

The owner also received convictions for two charges under the Local Government Act of failing to comply with instructions from a council officer.

“This conviction sends a clear signal to owners of food premises, that it is not acceptable to disregard food safety matters,” says David Vince, senior environmental health officer for Auckland City. “Owners have a responsibility to ensure their businesses meet acceptable public health standards. It is a matter of reputation which all food premise owners should be proud of.”

Environmental health officers closed the cafe for four days in March 2004 and, after further inspections in June and July, recommended a voluntary closure for four days in July, as there were critical food safety issues to resolve. In both cases, the cafe was permitted to re-open once those matters were rectified. Even though the business was allowed to re-open, the case was referred to the district court because of the continued breach of food hygiene standards.

In addition to the closures, prosecution of the owner was sought after environmental health officers continued to find outstanding food hygiene matters after a number of inspections.

Since the prosecution was sought, the cafe, which formerly held an “E” grade under the council’s food safety assessment system, has made some improvement and currently holds a “D”. Grade “D” is given to premises that are not achieving a satisfactory level of compliance with the regulations or have repeated faults from a previous inspection.

Now that the owner has been convicted, it is required to defend its right to continue to hold a food health license, needed in order to operate. To do this, it is expected to provide an explanation of why it should keep its licence by 11 March. A decision on the licence will be made by Auckland City’s Planning Fixtures Committee by the end of March.

For more information on food grading regulations, or to look up the gradings of particular restaurants, visit http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/council/services/ foodsearch.

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