02 Feb 2016

Dirty kitchen earns buffet restaurant £5,000 bill

The operator of a city centre buffet restaurant has been handed a bill of over £5,000 for filthy kitchen conditions.

Lai Hong Cheong, director of OBM, New York Street, pleaded guilty to five food hygiene offences at Leeds magistrates court yesterday (Monday 1 February).

Satisfied that the conditions environmental health officers found last summer posed a risk of harm to the public, magistrates fined Cheong £3,000 and ordered her to pay £2,148.91 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

When environmental health officers visited the premises on 4 June 2015 they discovered dirty and broken equipment including a tin opener caked with food and dirt, potentially contaminating food.

The risk of contamination also came from dirty surfaces often touched by staff allowing the possible spread of germs.

The situation was compounded with no means for staff to hygienically dry their hands after washing.

The kitchen and premises in general was dirty and in a poor state and the restaurant didn’t make use of food safety management guidelines.

Cheong advised magistrates that the issues had been rectified shortly after the inspection.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety, said:

“Whether you’re grabbing a quick lunch or looking forward to catching up with friends over a meal, you expect the people preparing your food to be doing so in a clean, well-managed and maintained kitchen.

“Sadly this isn’t always the case and when standards of cleanliness slip we will take action.

“People shouldn’t forget that they can check what our environmental health officers find through the food hygiene rating scheme.”

Leeds City Council regulates all food businesses in Leeds and environmental health officers regularly inspect restaurants, takeaways and shops to ensure they comply with strict food safety legislation.

The outcome of these inspections is a rating based on the Food Standard Agency’s national food hygiene rating scheme.

You can check ratings at http://ratings.food.gov.uk/.

Businesses can contact the food safety team at Leeds City Council for advice and residents can report any concerns on 0113 247 6286 or food.safety@leeds.gov.uk.

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team