A pizza takeaway operator that was closed down for over two weeks and given a ‘0’ food hygiene rating after “rats and filthy conditions” were found by Stroud District Council’s food inspectors, has been handed a penalty of more than £1,600 in fines and costs.
Inspectors visited Pizza Planet in Wotton under Edge in September 2018 after receiving a complaint. They found rat droppings and “poor” pest proofing, and said the wash hand basin was “unusable” and the kitchen was “dirty and cluttered”.
Improvement notices were served to secure improvements to the premises, however at a subsequent visit in November a “large brown rat” ran across the floor and over the inspector’s feet before disappearing through a hole. Owner Ali Izadi was not present at that visit but subsequently agreed to close the business whilst further remedial work was undertaken.
Izadi was also found to be selling alcohol otherwise than in accordance with the conditions of the licence for the premises, which was confirmed when officers conducted a test purchase.
On 22 July 2019, at Cheltenham Magistrates Court, Izadi admitted five offences, four under food safety legislation and one under the Licensing Act, and was fined a total of £640 and ordered to pay the Council £1,000 in costs together with a victim surcharge of £32.
Jon Beckett, head of health and wellbeing at Stroud District Council, said: “Food inspectors always act quickly to ensure that poor standards of food hygiene are dealt with and most businesses respond well. However, it is occasionally necessary to take legal action to deal with the worst cases.
“It is often claimed that poor food hygiene ratings are simply down to a lack of paperwork. Nothing could be further from the truth. Poor ratings are generally an indication of serious food hygiene failures that could lead to illness. We would urge all consumers to take note of the food hygiene ratings displayed on green window stickers in premises or on the food hygiene rating website.”