Royal Oak felled by food safety breaches

4 December 2018
Council officers closed a number of takeaway restaurants in the borough

* Woodford pub closed by Waltham Forest Council Food Safety Officers
* Crave Caribbean Restaurant also shuttered after rats found in kitchen
* Large fines issued to food business owners following hygiene breaches

A number of Waltham Forest-based food businesses have been closed by council Food Safety Officers who found pest infestations and serious hygiene problems which could have endangered the health of customers. 

On Thursday 15 November, Thames Magistrates’ Court confirmed a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order (HEPO) issued to the Royal Oak pub, 320 Hale End Road, Woodford, Woodford Green, IG8 9LN, whose kitchen was found to be infested by cockroaches – who had even made home in the motor area of the chest freezer. The disease-carrying pests were also found in the bar of the pub, meaning drinkers and diners were both at risk. The magistrates awarded the council costs of £980.00. Following the decision, the owners have made significant improvements and the Royal Oak has reopened to the public. 

The following week, on Wednesday 21 November, officers carried out a routine inspection of Crave Caribbean Restaurant, 323a Lea Bridge Road, E10 7LA, and found an active rat infestation mere feet from where food was being served to customers. The floor was thick with rat faeces and appliances were coated in filth and grease. The HEPO was confirmed at Thames Magistrates’ Court and costs of £1,057.80 were awarded to the council.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “When you’re enjoying a meal out, you should be able to relax and enjoy your food without worrying about the state of the kitchen. Pests and infestations can and do cause disease and illness. Council food safety teams work hard to keep consumers safe from unscrupulous owners who do not keep their premises clean and hygienic.

“Anyone who operates a food business has a responsibility to keep their customers safe. If we suspect this is not the case we will investigate, we will close down those who do not meet the required standard, and we will name and shame them so that residents and visitors can make an informed choice about where to eat.

“In the run-up to Christmas we urge anyone who is dining out to check the Food Standards Agency’s food hygiene rating tool - or ask to see the green hygiene rating sticker before they eat. Don’t let a merry Xmas become a very sickmas this festive season.”

Earlier in November the owner of Walthamstow restaurant Maamalas, Pallium Restaurants Ltd., was fined £5,000 by Thames Magistrates’ Court on top of £2,611 costs and a victim surcharge of £170 for serious breaches of food hygiene regulations after officers closed the Hoe Street restaurant in February 2018.

You can check the food hygiene rating of any restaurant, takeaway or diner online using the Food Standard Agency’s online tool.

See a selection of images taken at Royal Oak and Caribbean Crave by investigating officers here