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Warminster takeaway fined £28,200 for poor hygiene

The prosecution was brought following a history of poor compliance and a succession of interventions with the business to try to improve standards without success.

Published 23 September 2021
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As a result of a Wiltshire Council investigation, a former food businesses operator in Warminster has been fined for recurring food hygiene offences.

On Monday 13 September, following a long delay due to the pandemic, the former food business operator of Speedy Chef on Weymouth Street in Warminster was fined £28,200 for recurring food hygiene offences.

District Judge Dickens presiding at Salisbury Magistrates Court passed the sentence on Cuneyt Ascioglu, who was ordered to pay £28,200 in fines and legal costs. The takeaway is a recognised popular haunt in the late-night economy of Warminster and is now under new management.

The defendant had previously pleaded guilty to 12 charges of poor hygiene practices found by Wiltshire Council's Food and Safety Team during visits to the hot food takeaway in August, September and October 2019. The prosecution was brought following a history of poor compliance and a succession of interventions with the business to try to improve standards without success.

Wiltshire Council's Food and Safety team identified significant breaches of the food hygiene regulations during their unannounced inspection on 30 August 2019. Despite previous enforcement action, the breaches found were shocking. It was identified that there was no management system in place to ensure food could be produced safely, and the defendant had failed to engage with the daily management needed. The customers' meals were exposed to the risk of contamination from both the food handlers themselves and poor cleaning of the food rooms and food equipment. The toilet and wash basins, where provided, were filthy and no hand soap was provided so that the staff could wash their hands effectively. A wash-hand basin had been removed from a food preparation area, despite previous enforcement action requiring its provision. Staff were not wearing aprons and were failing to carry out routine cleaning, leading to accumulations of food debris and grease on and under equipment.

There had been a complete neglect of cleaning of the food equipment. Food was stored in fridges and freezers which were filthy with mould, mildew and food debris, including the contact surfaces regularly touched by the staff. Chopping boards, knives and skewers were all carelessly stored in dirty environments where they could become contaminated before use. The defendant had no equipment to monitor critical control temperatures for hot and chilled foods. Salad items and mayonnaise in the chilled display were stored at 14.80C which would permit harmful  bacterial growth. Flies had free access to food surfaces in an upstairs food room through an unprotected open window.

Follow up visits in September and October 2019 revealed a complete failure of the defendant to act to remedy matters, putting customers at prolonged risk of food borne illness. At the hearing, DJ Dickens stressed to the defendant the seriousness of these offences, the significant risk of harm to customers arising from his failure to follow basic hygiene rules and that he had shown a total disregard for the law.

Food safety officers have inspected the business since these conditions were reported for prosecution. The takeaway now operates under different management with a food hygiene rating of 3 from its latest inspection In March this year.

Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, commented: It is so unfortunate that sentencing in this case has been delayed due to the backlog the courts are facing as a result of the pandemic. Our food safety officers work tirelessly with businesses to help them secure high standards of hygiene which is reflected in the overall excellent hygiene ratings seen across the county.

Unfortunately there remain a few businesses out there that don't and won't follow the simple steps to produce food safely, and this case highlights complete indifference by the business at that time to safeguard its customers. This cannot be tolerated and our officers will bring these cases for enforcement wherever it is warranted.

I'd like to publicly thank our Food and Safety team for all their hard work in achieving this positive outcome.

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Published 23 September 2021