Dixy Chicken falls ‘fowl’ of the law for a second time

Leeds, Leeds Star

A Leeds city centre fast food outlet has been prosecuted for a second time in one month by Leeds City Council.

Following a successful prosecution earlier this month which saw the former owner of Dixy Chicken on New Briggate, Aqueel Ahmed, fined for waste control offences, last Friday (17 February) at Leeds magistrates court the manager, Nosherwan Sarfraz, pleaded guilty to food hygiene offences.

Sarfraz was fined £480 and ordered to pay £1867 costs and a £48 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to several food hygiene offences, including having no means for staff preparing food to clean their hands.

During a visit by a Leeds City Council environmental health officer who was looking into a complaint from a member of the public alleging food poisoning, several contraventions of food safety legislation were discovered. The court heard that during the inspection the officer found a complete lack of regard for food safety.

The key issues discovered were:

  • There were no measures in place to prevent risk of contamination likely to render the food unfit for human consumption, injurious to health or contaminated in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect it to be used;
  • Items that touch food were not kept clean and disinfected to avoid the risk of contamination; or in such good order and repair so as to minimise the risk of contamination;
  • The premises were not kept clean or generally in good repair and condition;
  • The hand wash basins in the main kitchen and the downstairs preparation room had no materials for cleaning hands and both hand wash basins were dirty. The hand wash basin in the downstairs staff toilet had no drying towel;
  • There was not an effective way to manage food safety in the business.

In mitigation the court heard that as the manager Mr Sarfraz accepted responsibility for the offences and explained that he was away from the premises a lot due to his wife being pregnant. According to Mr Sarfraz the staff he employed held the appropriate food hygiene certificates and had advised him there were no issues at the premises whilst he was away.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for environment and sustainability, said:

“It is very disappointing that we have had to bring the same business to court twice in one month for two different offences. Hopefully this will remind the manager and the new owner of the importance of keeping a clean and tidy business both inside and out, so they don’t fall foul of the legislation again.

“Officers will happily give advice so businesses can put the safety of customers first, but we won’t hesitate to take action when necessary.”

The council’s environmental health team is employed to check that food businesses in Leeds comply with food law requirements and are authorised to take action where they find non-compliance.

Food poisoning is a major source of illness in the UK. The Food Standards Agency advises that there are more than 500,000 cases of food poisoning in the UK a year from known pathogens. Most common sources of food poisoning involve cross contamination of food. Cross contamination can be caused by poor hand hygiene and lack of care taken when placing raw and ready to eat food close, or handling using shared or dirty equipment.

Leeds City Council regulates all food businesses in Leeds and environmental health officers regularly inspect restaurants, takeaways and shops to ensure they comply with strict food safety legislation.

The outcome of these inspections is a rating based on the Food Standard Agency’s national food hygiene rating scheme.

Food safety ratings can be checked at http://ratings.food.gov.uk/.

Businesses can contact the food safety team at Leeds City Council for advice and residents can report any concerns on 0113 378 5900 or food.safety@leeds.gov.uk.