The manager of a takeaway in Shelf has been fined £1600 including court costs after a member of the public bit down on a piece of string whilst eating one of its pizzas.
Waqas Hussain, 28, of The Wickets, Bradford, pleaded guilty to 15 separate breaches of EU/UK food safety hygiene law on October 23 after Shelf Balti House underwent a shock inspection by Calderdale Council in January.
The investigation began after a member of the public suffered dental pain upon biting down on the piece of string, which was later found to be a match for material found in a pizza flour bag in the takeaway kitchen.
The inspection, which was carried out on January 28, revealed a litany of “filth”.
Some of the findings, read out by prosecutor Claire Farrimond, for the council, included a lack of water supply and adequate facilities to wash food and utensils, fixtures and fittings in poor repair which may have contributed to poor hygiene conditions, and a lack of adequate refrigeration for certain food items.
Of particular concern were the “filthy” work surfaces and storage containers for both food and tools. One work surface was so unclean that a set of initials could be inscribed into the layer of dirt.
Food contamination was also a major issue, with “cracked, leaking raw eggs “stored above and next to ready to eat foods”.
However, since the initial inspection the takeaway’s young manager has taken it upon himself to make things right.
Inspectors reported a marked, if gradual, improvement on further inspections carried out from February to August. In August, Mr Hussain achieved a three star hygiene rating which is the legal minimum.
Mr Khan, his defence lawyer, said: “He is extremely sorry for what has taken place at his business. He was dealing with personal issues at the time and left it in the care of his brother-in-law, which he deeply regrets.
“The members of staff responsible for the state of the takeaway have now been replaced with new workers, and Mr Hussain is determined to achieve his five star hygiene rating as soon as possible.”
Mr Hussain, who has a wife and five month old child, entered an early guilty plea and was given credit for this by the magistrate: matters were concluded swiftly and a manageable payment plan agreed for the fines incurred.