POOR food hygiene at a Billingham pizza shop has cost its owner a hefty fine.
Azam Razzaq, 44, the owner of Pizzalicious on High Grange Road in Billingham, was ordered to pay £3,918.02 after admitting four offences under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.
Teesside Magistrates heard how Stockton Council’s Environmental Health officers found filthy conditions when they carried out an unannounced visit following a complaint from a member of the public.
Officers found the premises, including food preparation areas, equipment and storage facilities, dirty and greasy with food debris also found on walls, floors, doors, pipework as well as underneath and behind equipment, the court heard yesterday.
Hygiene standards and practices were poor and staff were not suitably trained. No Food Safety Management systems were being used and the monitoring records were not up-to-date.
In mitigation, Mr Razzaq, of Lunedale Avenue, Middlesbrough, said his manager was on sick leave which meant the business was without direct management and had been neglected. He has now released some members of staff and that of the current staff, five out of seven were trained in food hygiene and had a “training package”.
He said he had explained to them the expectations of the legislation and that someone would be responsible for ensuring compliance each day.
Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, Councillor Steve Nelson, said; “Members of the public should be able to consume food from any outlet with the confidence that it is prepared using the highest of food hygiene practices which are continuously and effectively monitored.
“That’s why we take action to protect the public when food hygiene laws are flouted.
“It is only right that Mr Razzaq has been appropriately punished and this case is certainly a serious reminder that the responsibility of food hygiene standards lies with the premises owner, not its staff.”
Anyone who would like to check the results of food hygiene inspections across the Borough and further afield can visit www.food.gov.uk/ratings