Filthy Croydon restaurant made more than 200 party guests ill and landed owner thousands in fines

Kitchen staff who didn’t wash their hands and incorrectly stored raw meat left more than 200 party-goers sick at an event in Thornton Heath.

Environmental health officers were alerted when a large number of guests were taken ill at a coming-of-age ceremony catered by Spiceland in Croydon in December 2014.

Spiceland restaurant owner, Sivapathasundaram Premanthan, appeared before Croydon magistrates on Tuesday January 12 and pled guilty to a string of hygiene offences in his own name and that of the company.

Individual fines of £300 were levied against each of 20 hygiene offences, ten for the company and ten for Premanthan, alongside costs of £1,880 and a victim surcharge of £120, totalling £8,000.

Spiceland on London Road was inspected just one month before the party and was found to be at the highest risk rating requiring immediate attention.

Environmental health officers visited the restaurant a few days after the party and noted the kitchen walls, floor and ceiling were extremely dirty and damaged in several areas, failing to meet the standards required of a food business

Spiceland- hob encrusted with food debris- Croydon CouncilFILTHY: Hob encrusted with food debris 

Kitchen staff were ignorant of basic food safety practices, including not washing their hands. The hand wash basin could not be used because it was full of dirty cloths and utensils and the washing up sink was blocked and smelt like sewage.

The freezer was overstocked, with products thrown in without any order, and raw meat and chicken were stored next to and directly above cooked and ready-to-eat foods such as salads.

The floor and walls of the walk-in chiller were dirty with food spillages and the shelving was covered in food debris.

Spiceland- filth under cooking range- Croydon CouncilDISGUSTING: Filth under cooking range 

Officers gave Premanthan detailed advice and requested that several issues be addressed immediately.

Returning the following day and finding very little improvement, officers served two Hygiene Improvement Notices as the business was not compliant with hygiene regulations.

Surface swabs and six out of ten food samples were found to be unsatisfactory, showing that procedures were inadequate and that food was being prepared and sold in an unsafe manner. Officers again advised Premanthan and required immediate improvements to be made.

Spiceland- electrical wires exposed- Croydon CouncilUNACCEPTABLE: Electrical wires exposed 

Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said: “It’s a repeated message that food producers have a duty of care to ensure that their produce and methods are clean, safe and do not present a threat to the health of their customers.

“This restaurateur, despite a number of warnings from our food safety officers, failed to ensure that right and proper hygiene standards were in place, and that his staff were aware of their obligations; now he’s paid the price in the eyes of the law.”

A return inspection in January 2015, found some effort had been made to repair and clean, but the business continued to fall short of compliance. The food safety management system was inadequate, the cleaning remained unsatisfactory and repairs had not been completed. ­

Featured image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks

Pictures courtesy of Croydon Council, with thanks

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