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PROHIBITION NOTICES: IGNORANCE CAN PROVE COSTLY

A restaurant, in South Oxfordshire, that ignored a Food Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was recently fined £35,000 after staff continued to prepare food in prohibited rooms.

To ensure compliance with food safety laws, all food retailers and caterers are inspected regularly by their Environmental Health Officer. Following inspections, local council enforcement officers will confirm what improvements, if any, need to be made. Where there is an imminent risk of food poisoning a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice will be served, which can forbid businesses from using certain equipment and stop employees from working in unhygienic preparation areas.

If restaurants, takeaways or other food outlets defy the prohibition notices, they risk facing huge fines.

In the case of the restaurant in South Oxfordshire, Environmental Health Officers had carried out a routine food hygiene inspection and found evidence of rat infestations in food preparation areas and storage rooms, which were unclean.

As a result, prohibition notices were displayed at all entrances to the premises, but unfortunately employees ignored the notices and continued to use those rooms. In addition, the restaurant had a poor record of compliance, therefore putting customers’ health at risk.

By not abiding by the prohibition notice, this was found to be a serious breach of the food hygiene regulations, and the restaurant was therefore fined the largest sum in a prosecution of its kind in the South Oxfordshire District.

This case highlights the extreme consequences of not complying with food safety laws, as tough action will be taken. Food businesses must ensure that high standards are maintained to prevent jeopardising the health of customers and to avoid large fines, loss of revenue and damage to reputation.

Commenting on the importance of food safety compliance, Peter Christopher-Ohrt, Managing Director Technical Services, Food Alert Ltd, said: “This latest prosecution shows the full impact of not complying with Food Hygiene legislation, with not only the premises being prevented from trading, being issued a zero rated food hygiene rating, but it also faced substantial fines.”

“The case also highlights yet again the importance of preventing pest infestations and the need to take control of any active pest infestation in your premises.“

For further information and expert advice on how to manage infestations and food safety compliance, either contact, if a customer, our Advice Line or call us on 020 7244 1900 or email enquiries@foodalert.com

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