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‘Filthy’ Chinese takeaway with flies on food deemed health risk and fined £25k

A Chinese takeaway with flies seen crawling on its food has been slapped with a huge £25,000 fine.

Moon River, in Holderness Road, east Hull, was deemed as an imminent risk to public health and an order for immediate closure was secured.

An investigation found cooked foods were stored in close proximity to raw food creating a cross contamination risk.

Food was also found stored in dirty cardboard boxes.

The takeaway was first shut down using a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice (HEPN) on March 29 last year after an inspection found a series of potentially dangerous hygiene breaches.

It had not long bounced back from a previous zero hygiene rating – gaining a top rating of five – before falling foul once more.

The visit in March by Hull City Council inspectors found a series of damning breaches.

They included:

being “filthy” throughout
evidence of cross contamination from raw foods to cooked foods in both storage and preparation
food handlers not wearing protective over-clothing and failing to wash their hands after handling raw food
several areas of the premises were poorly maintained
no antibacterial surface cleaner.

The problems were severe enough to be considered an imminent risk to public health and Hull Magistrates’ Court issued a Hygiene Prohibition Order which forced the closure of the takeaway until the Food Safety Team was satisfied it no longer posed a health risk.

The business was allowed to reopen after meeting the necessary standards.

However, officers returned on May 19 to investigate a food complaint they had received.

Their investigation found:

flies were found to be crawling on cooked foods
food handlers were not wearing protective overclothing
cooked foods were stored in close proximity to raw food creating a cross contamination risk
high risk foods were stored out of temperature control
food was stored in dirty cardboard boxes
there was no date labelling system in place to ensure stock control
access to the hand basin was very difficult so that food handlers could not easily wash their hands.
Once again, officers deemed there was an imminent risk to public health and an order for immediate closure was secured.

At a hearing on December 4 at Hull Magistrates’ Court, the hygiene breaches found during both visits were taken into account.

A guilty plea to nine separate offences was entered and the court fined the limited company which owns the takeaway, Ying 888 , £25,000 and £500 costs be paid.

Additionally, the director, Mrs Ying Ni was fined £500 and ordered to pay £500 costs and £100 victim surcharge.

The fines were imposed for failure to implement and maintain a food safety management system with no separate penalty for the other offences.

The food business operators were previously prosecuted for serious food hygiene offences in 2014.

Michael Fish, principal environmental health officer at Hull City Council, said: “Food businesses must have in place a documented food safety management.

“It is imperative that the controls highlighted in this document are fully implemented into the business to ensure food safety is maintained at all times.

“Officers have worked closely with this business for a number of years giving food safety advice.

“Where businesses fail to act upon this advice and the result is that there is a risk to public health then we have no other alternative but to consider formal action in line with the graduated approach to enforcement.”

Speaking to Hull Live last summer after the second closure, the owners blamed the last zero score on a broken boiler and say the issue was with the fridge not working.

Manager Fengsi He admitted he is very frustrated by the latest setback and is determined to put it right.

He said: “The fridge broke which meant the food was not being kept at the right temperature.

“We closed for about a week to get it sorted. We have fixed the fridge and added a new one too. Everything is OK now. We are confident we will get a four or five rating when we are reinspected.

“We have had issues on two occasions which left us with zero scores but normally we are never below a four or a five.

“We are not a dirty premises, we just had something that was broken.

“We take great pride in our food hygiene and we have had no problems before these recent inspections.”