An outbreak of suspected food poisoning has led to the closure of Leyton-based restaurant Lagos Island.
Officers started to receive complaints on Monday 8 July after guests who had attended a function at the venue started to experience illness and symptoms of food poisoning. Officers visited the premises the next day, Tuesday 9 July, and found out-of-date food that had not been stored correctly in the filthy kitchen, alongside an active mouse infestation. By that point, some guests had started posting on Tripadvisor about the incident.
The inspectors served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice (HEPN) and immediately closed the restaurant because of the risk to public health. The rotten food was kept aside to prevent it reaching consumers until the case could be heard at court.
On Thursday 11 July Thames Magistrates Court granted a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order (HEPO) and awarded the council costs of £1,980.00. The magistrates also granted a Food Condemnation Notice to destroy the rotten food that was found at the restaurant.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “This is one of the worst instances I have yet seen of a restaurant failing to meet its obligations to customers. If you run a food business, it is up to you to make sure that the food is stored safely, that your kitchen is kept clean and hygienic, and that there are no pests infesting the premises. You are jeopardising both your customers and your reputation if you do not.
“The law says we must give the operators a chance to make improvements when we close a food business, but we would like to reassure residents that any which are formally closed will be revisited in this shortest possible timeframe when they reopen.
“We have had to take action against this restaurant before in 2018, and this previous closure is the subject of ongoing formal proceedings.”
In a separate case, Thames Magistrates Court granted a HEPO for the closure of Abina Supermarket, 132 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London, E17 4QR on Thursday 18 July after officers found contaminated food, a mouse infestation, and no operational hot water tap for staff to wash their hands before handling produce.
• Pest: what is the risk to food?
Rats, mice and cockroaches can carry food poisoning pathogens such as Salmonella and E-coli as they access waste, toilets and sewers and then physically distribute germs onto food, food preparation surfaces, utensils and equipment. They can also contaminate food with food poisoning bacteria directly through their faecal matter.
• Why do these businesses seem to re-open so quickly?
Waltham Forest Food & Safety Officers would like to clarify why businesses that have been formally closed sometimes open before or shortly after articles go to press. This is because an ‘imminent risk’ can sometimes be addressed fairly quickly and the business must then be allowed to re-open, as required by the Court Order. However, Food & Safety Officers would like to reassure the public that longer-term improvements may go on for some time after the imminent risk has been addressed and that businesses that have been formally closed are next inspected in the shortest time frame allowable.