The owners of a Luton takeaway have been given suspended jail sentences and fined more than £13,000 over food safety and health and safety offences.
Business owners and brothers Majid Hussain of Leagrave Road and Nasar Hussain of Conway Road both pleaded guilty to six hygiene offences and two health and safety offences at the Chicken & Pizza Direct on Bishopcote Road at Luton Magistates court last week.
When Luton Borough Council food and safety officers visited the takeaway in June 2013, they discovered staff working in a kitchen at the rear of the hairdressers shop next door to provide more room in the takeaway.
When checking the kitchen, officers began to feel unwell and found gas appliances operating with little ventilation. Using gas appliances in these conditions can create a build-up of highly dangerous carbon monoxide.
Officers immediately ordered the owners to stop using the gas appliances and sealed the gas tap into the ‘off’ position.
But when they returned next day, the gas supply was turned on again and the appliances being used, so the officers served a Prohibition Notice, and ordered the owners to have it checked by a competent person.
Officers also found the takeaway kitchen in a poor condition and dirty with dried on food splashes and grease around sinks and walls, and sticky deposits on freezer tops and around plug sockets.
Walls were covered in greasy wallpaper and rough plaster which could not be cleaned. Equipment including a colander, pizza cutter, measuring jug, plastic bowls and a strainer were all dirty and greasy. Staff were filling small takeaway pots with garlic mayonnaise out in the open air.
The Court sentenced Majid and Nasar Hussain to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for one year, and ordered them each separately to carry out 100 hours unpaid community work and fines of £4,800 plus a £80 victim surcharge, and Council costs of £773 ie a total fine each of £5,653.
Magistrates commented that by fiddling with the gas supply, the brothers had put people’s lives at risk and flagrantly breached the health and safety law. They also said the kitchen was not fit for a dog to eat in.
Cllr Aslam Khan, portfolio holder for Environmental Health, said: “Bypassing health and safety laws creates a serious risk of injury or even death to employees and customers.
Any businesses ignoring the law, which lays down basic cleanliness and hygiene standards to protect all of us, should expect heavy fines and even a jail sentence.”
For more information on the work of the Council’s Food and Safety team see www.luton.gov.uk/food