Ipswich Magistrates Court have fined a hospitality company over £2,600 after they obtained guilty pleas to six food safety offences.
On Tuesday 18 September, Ipswich Magistrates Court saw J & R Hospitality Ltd represented by Robert Read, plead guilty to six food safety offences.
Three offences dated back to an inspection on 22 November 2017 by Mid Suffolk District Council at Limes Hotel in Needham Market where the company traded from. These were given due to the absence of a food safety management system, placing unfit food on the market and for poorly maintained and unclean premises.
Following a routine inspection on the 23 May 2018, it was found that the company had made no improvements and the same standards remained, leading to formal action by the Council.
Fines for the first three offences in November totalled £1,000, with the following three from May costing £1,666. Full council costs of £570 and a victim surcharge of £170 were awarded.
Simon Smith, prosecuting on behalf of Mid Suffolk District Council, advised the Magistrates Court that at both inspections the hotel was given a food hygiene rating of zero.
A decision was taken at the first inspection to deal with the matter informally and provide support to assist the business as the new company had inherited problems from the previous management. They were informed by letter that if poor standards were found again, this evidence could be used in legal proceedings.
In court, Mr Read advised that he was working very long days and had not had enough time to manage the kitchen. He added that the Food & Safety Officers had been helpful.
A follow up inspection was completed on 13 September 2018 to provide the court with information on the hotel’s status. Food Safety Officers reported that they were happy with the conditions. An additional staff member was now assisting in the kitchen and food was being stored and controlled correctly.
Cllr David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment said: “This is a great result for our food safety officers who work hard to keep the public safe when eating out. The officers take a graduated enforcement approach, offering advice and support to all food businesses, prosecution being the last resort. This case shows how important food hygiene ratings are in making sure that members of our community can make an informed decision when heading to a restaurant or café. Preparations for the festive season will soon be upon us and I hope that the food hygiene ratings will play a key role in helping people choose their Christmas meal venue.”