Food safety inspectors have closed three Waltham Forest food businesses in June after they discovered unsafe practices that could have endangered the health of consumers.
The Hallz Delight Nature Hut, Unit 6, 100 Wood Street, Walthamstow E17 3HX was closed on Tuesday 4 June after a routine visit identified the poor structure of the premises as a potential risk to public health. Officers discovered that the kitchen was open to the outside environment, which could have resulted in contamination of food. Additionally, the business did not have a hot water supply.
On Friday 14 June, Thames Magistrates Court granted a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order (HEPO) and awarded the council costs of £835.00.
The next week, officers visited Master Halal Meat, 131 High Street, Walthamstow, E17 7DB, on Tuesday 11 June where they found an active mouse infestation in the premises, close to where meat was being prepared for sale. They immediately closed the business using HEPO powers, confirmed at hearing at Thames Magistrates Court on Tuesday 18 June where costs of £1,054.57 were awarded to the council.
In the final case officers closed the China House takeaway, 795 High Road Leyton, London, E10 7AA, on Wednesday 19 June after finding rats and flies infesting the premises, alongside very poor standards of cleaning and repair. They also found food being stored outside of temperature control, which could have led to it becoming spoiled. Costs of £748.00 were awarded to the council at a hearing at Thames Magistrates Court on Tuesday 29 June.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “We take food safety very seriously. We want residents and visitors to our borough to be confident that when they pick somewhere to enjoy a meal, the food they are served is safe and has been properly prepared.
“If you operate a food business, your livelihood and reputation rests on keeping your kitchen hygienic and your premises well maintained. The majority of businesses are responsible and diligent when it comes to customer safety. For the small minority who are not, the message is clear: Our team will not hesitate to act if you are endangering the health of consumers. It’s simply not worth the risk of cutting corners – we will find out.”
If you’re eating out in the UK, or even just getting a takeaway for a night in front of the TV, you can use the Food Standard Agency’s online tool to see the hygiene ratings for any food business before you order. It only takes a minute to check – but could save you from an unpleasant dining experience.
If you suspect a food business is not meeting its hygiene obligations, is not labelling food products properly, or is committing a food crime, you can use the Food Standard Agency’s website to report it for investigation.
The Waltham Forest Servicestore can put business owners and residents in contact with trusted local tradespeople, including pest controllers who will be able to professionally deal with pests including mice at competitive rates.
• Pests: what is the risk to food?
Rats, mice and cockroaches can carry food poisoning pathogens such as salmonella and e-coli. They can physically distribute germs onto food, food preparation surfaces, and kitchen utensils and equipment from waste, toilets, and sewers. They can also contaminate food with food poisoning bacteria directly through their faecal matter.
• Why do businesses closed by the Food & Safety Team seem to re-open so quickly?
We know residents often wonder why businesses closed by the Food & Safety team often seem to reopen quickly. This is because an ‘imminent risk’ can sometimes be addressed swiftly and the business is then legally 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 who have been formally closed are next inspected in the shortest permissible time frame.