A FAST-food takeaway owner must complete unpaid work and pay more than £3,500 after six breaches of food hygiene regulations were identified at his premises.

Farooq Afghani, who runs FA Charcoal Grill, in North Station Road, Colchester, faced five charges under food safety and hygiene regulations and one of failing to comply with an improvement notice.

Magistrates found him guilty of the breaches in his absence in March, before issuing an arrest warrant.

The hearing had already been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He was sentenced on Tuesday at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court to a community order ordering him to complete 150-hours of unpaid work and told he must pay £3,533.52 in costs.

The charges follow an unannounced visit at FA Charcoal Grill by Colchester Council's Environment Health officers in March 2018 when several serious food hygiene and health and safety violations were found.

Halstead Gazette:

There was no hot water running in the premises, no adequate provision for storage and disposal of rubbish and raw meat was contaminating ready-to-eat foods.

Some ready-to-eat foods were being sold past their use-by dates and there was unsuitable ventilation system for cooking with solid fuel.

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Afghani failed to comply with two hygiene improvement notices and one health and safety improvement notice.

The requirements in the notices had not been implemented within the timeframe and, to-date, remain outstanding.

Halstead Gazette:

Mike Lilley, councillor responsible for communities, wellbeing and public safety, said: "All food businesses have a fundamental duty to their customers to ensure the food they sell is properly stored, prepared in hygienic conditions and is safe to eat.

"Whilst most food businesses spend time and money keeping on top of food safety and protecting their staff and customers, there are others that don’t.

“In cases such as this, when a business is not responsibly managed and has been warned about poor hygiene and safety, the council has no alternative but to take action through the courts.”

Afghani said he failed to attend court as he did not read the adjournment notice properly.

You can check the food hygiene rating of a takeaway at www.food.gov.uk/ratings.