A PIZZA shop boss has been fined £840 after hygiene inspectors discovered filthy food preparation and storage areas.
Altaf Hussain, of Pizza Pan, in Queensway, Billingham, pleaded guilty to five food hygiene offences.
Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard that when environmental health officers for Stockton Borough Council made a routine visit in October last year they found filthy food preparation and storage areas.
And the only hand wash basin was also difficult to get to.
Council bosses said the case highlights how important it is that takeaways and other food outlets meet the necessary standards.
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton council’s cabinet member for housing and community safety, said: “There is no excuse for poor food hygiene.
“Every food operator has a duty to meet food hygiene standards in order to keep their customers safe.
“Mr Hussain failed to meet this duty and his premises created a risk to public health so it only right that he has been dealt with by the courts.”
In mitigation, Hussain said he accepted he was at fault and he apologised deeply.
The court heard that the running of the businesses had been affected after his father was diagnosed with cancer 15 months ago and he took time off work to look after both him and his 76-year-old mother, who was not coping.
His lawyer said had relied upon staff who had let him down.
The court heard that procedures are now in place and the premises are satisfactory.
He added he had been in business for 15 years.
As well as being fined, Hussain, of Oxford Road, Middlesbrough, was also ordered to pay £160 prosecution costs and a £28 victim surcharge.
The council is reminding residents that they can check up on the hygiene standards of food outlets in their area online.
Anyone who would like to check the results of food hygiene inspections across the borough and further afield should log on to www.food.gov.uk/ratings.