The owner of a Chinese takeaway has had to pay out more than £6k after pleading guilty to 20 breaches of food and safety hygiene regulations.
Keihan Nikseresht Somehsaraei, Director of Kensington Takeaway, was fined £5,200, plus costs of £750 and a £190 victim surcharge, in a case that was heard at Liverpool Magistrates Court in December, last year.
During an inspection in August 2021, Liverpool City Council Environmental Health officers discovered a mouse infestation and found that inadequate pest control measures were in place.
Mouse droppings were found throughout the takeaway - including on food preparation equipment and on food packaging. Officers said there was also a lack of regular and effective cleaning protocols, resulting in a build-up of food debris and grease, and a number of holes were discovered which provided rodents with access.
The conditions were so unhygienic that the takeaway was immediately instructed to close as it was considered “an imminent risk to health” as mice are known carriers of diseases transmissible from animals to humans, including; Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria and Hantavirus which can cause serious illness, especially to vulnerable people such as children, the elderly, immunocompromised and pregnant women.
The takeaway was given permission to re-open after remidial works were undertaken, however, another inspection took place in March 2022, and again, mouse droppings were evident, regular cleaning was not taking place and there were still some gaps and holes which were acting as entry points for mice.
The premises was closed to the public once again while improvement works took place. The takeaway reopened in April 2022 following another assessment by officers.
In sentencing, District Judge Boswell said the conditions posed a serious risk to the health of the customer and “common sense tells you that the premises were unacceptable”.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, lead cabinet member for the Neighbourhoods portfolio, said: “This case shows a shocking disregard for people’s health and the terrible state of the takeaway could have resulted in many customers becoming extremely unwell.
“It’s a significant fine and highlights just how seriously we take these sorts of offences. It is unacceptable to operate a business in this manner and we simply won’t tolerate it.
“This case sends out a strong message to food outlets across the city – don’t be complacent. Our team doesn’t just carry out one-off visits, they will come back to inspect any premises to check the appropriate standards are being maintained, and if they’re not, action will be taken.
“I’d like to thank our environmental health team, the officers provide an incredible service across the city so that residents and visitors can, rightly so, expect the highest possible standards when they visit any food outlet.”
Kensington Takeaway is no longer operational and the premises are now under the management of a new food business operator.