Hitchin takeaway fined for ‘unacceptable’ hygiene

A HITCHIN takeaway was fined nearly �3,000 yesterday (Monday) after health inspectors determined that the hygiene levels there were “unacceptable”.

Yan Hu, the owner of Jasmine Chinese takeaway on Nightingale Road, Hitchin, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 at Stevenage Magistrates Court on Monday. The manager, Zhi Yu Gao, pleaded guilty to the same charges.

The court was told that North Herts District Council (NHDC) environmental health officers had visited the premises on September 9, 2010.

Dirt and debris was found around cooking equipment, soap and hand drying facilities were not being provided in the kitchen and chefs had no adequate protective clothing.

It was also discovered that the manager was not following an effective food safety management system.

Magistrates fined Hu �1,680 for the offences, Gao was fined �740, and both were each ordered to pay �200 legal costs and a �15 victim surcharge. Their fines were reduced by one third due to their guilty plea.

The takeaway has been awarded zero stars by NHDC, as part of the Scores on the Doors scheme, which rates eateries according to cleanliness and other factors.

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“Our environmental health officers work hard to ensure that food outlets in North Herts maintain satisfactory standards,” said Andy Godman, NHDC’s head of housing and public protection. “The Scores on the Doors system rates premises for hygiene and food safety. In this case, a previous scoring of zero meant that there was a significant room for improvement, but this clearly did not take place.

“In fact, standards of hygiene at the restaurant had deteriorated since that minimum rating was awarded.

“This will serve as a warning to other local restaurant owners that we will not tolerate practices that put the health of our residents at risk.”

The Comet are due to publish full listings of Scores on the Doors ratings across North Herts, Stevenage and Central Beds on its website on Thursday and in this week’s paper.