Food inspectors found rat droppings and rodent teeth marks when they checked up on a Chinese takeaway in Brighton, a court was told.
Food and packaging had been gnawed by rats at the New Lotus takeaway in Dyke Road, Brighton, according to environmental health officers from Brighton and Hove City Council.
The owner, Jian Fung Lin, was fined £5,600 because of the infestation and ordered to pay £1,750 costs by Brighton magistrates yesterday (Thursday 7 March).
He admitted eight breaches of food hygiene regulations and was ordered by magistrates to pay a victim surcharge in addition to the fine and costs.
Staff from the council’s food safety team visited the takeaway at the Seven Dials last October and found signs of the rat infestation in the basement of the premises.
Rat droppings were spotted on the dry store shelving, on top of a crate of soft drink bottles and on a step leading into a rear extension.
Rice vermicelli and a bar of creamed coconut in the basement dry food store had been gnawed by rodents along with other food packaging.
When the officers looked around the premises they saw that a hole at the bottom of the toilet door had also been gnawed.
After the infestation was found the owner closed the premises to clean up and treat the infestation.
The business was allowed to reopen after food safety staff were satisfied that action had been taken to eradicate the infestation and improve standards.
Tim Nichols, the council’s chief environmental health officer, said: “This case showed extremely serious breaches of food hygiene standards and it was lucky that customers weren’t made ill from food prepared under these conditions.
“The case demonstrates that the city council will not hesitate to take firm action to protect residents and visitors.
“People should have confidence when eating out or buying food in the city that cases such as these are rare.”
The council’s food safety team works closely with food outlets in the city and publishes food hygiene ratings on the council website. To see them click here.
In Brighton and Hove 2,657 food businesses are in the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme with 1,378 scoring the top grade of five out of five and 590 scoring four.
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