for the month of January, 2014
Joint prosecution leads to suspended prison sentence
A Hull takeaway owner has been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment suspended for two years following a joint prosecution by environmental health and the police relating to food safety offences and perverting the course of justice.
The joint prosecution was taken against Gholam Reza Parviz relating to his time as owner of Latino’s Takeaway 288 Southcoates Lane, Hull. Mr Parviz pleaded guilty at Hull Crown Court to eight separate food safety offences, to the breach of a closure order and to a charge of intention to pervert the course of justice after he pretended to be someone else.
Hull EHOs told Mr Parviz that his takeaway posed an imminent risk to health due given the poor hygiene standards and that he was operating without a hot water boiler and so had no access to hot water. Mr Parviz currently runs another takeaway, Valencia at 287b Preston Road, Hull.
‘We served an emergency hygiene prohibition notice but he then waited until half past seven or eight thinking that we were off duty and would open up again,’ said Hull City Council principal EHO Paul Turner.
‘We caught him trading in between us serving the notice and going to the Magistrates Court to turn it into an emergency hygiene prohibition order. Also some of us knew him as Mr Parviz, but whenever he was in trouble he used the name Mr Mousavi as an alias. We reported it to Humberside Police and they took that charge.’
Despite the successful prosecution Mr Parviz did not have to pay the legal costs of Hull City Council.
In addition to environmental health working with the Police the investigation also included working with housing benefit and the Department for Work and Pensions relating to benefit fraud.
‘Everyone worked together on this where we shared information so it was a joint investigation with two separate paired up prosecutions,’ said Mr Turner.
Four days after his Crown Court prosecution on the 1 November Mr Parviz pleaded guilty to two further offences at Hull Magistrates Court to failing to declare a change to his circumstances resulting in an overpayment of council tax benefit and income support totaling £9,397. Mr Parviz was given a conditional discharge dependent on him paying back all monies fraudulently taken.
Actions for food safety breaches hit record in 2013
The number of enforcement orders taken against businesses for breaching food safety laws was up by 31 per cent last year, hitting a record of 143.
Publishing its figures for 2013, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland said it was “extremely disappointing” that once again there had been a significant year-on-year increase in the number of such actions.
Some 119 closure orders, four improvement orders and 20 prohibition orders were issued last year. In 2012, there were 109 enforcement orders issued by health inspectors.
The authority said it was unacceptable that some food businesses were continuing to breach food safety laws and said all such businesses must place robust food safety management systems top of their agenda or face “the full rigours of the law”.
In December last year alone, 11 closure orders were served on food businesses for breaches of food safety legislation under the FSAI Act 1998 and also EU control of foodstuffs regulations.
FSAI chief executive Prof Alan Reilly said the 31 per cent increase last year was “extremely disappointing” and serveed as “an unfortunate reminder that some food businesses continue to put their customers’ health at risk by not complying with their legal obligations of food safety and hygiene”.
“There is absolutely no excuse for negligent food practices.”
Prof Reilly said there had been a 5 per cent increase in the number of food businesses established over the last five years and he said the authority offered a number of supports on an ongoing basis.
The businesses on which closure orders were issued under the FSAI Act in December were: Aneta Dabrowska (meat and meat products) (smokinghouse area only), Ednamo, Inniskeen, Monaghan; Cronin’s Butchers (closed area: food preparation room on first floor), Strand Street, Kanturk, Cork and Lithuanica (grocery) (the store room of the premises), Unit 4, Edgeworthstown Retail Park, Edgeworthstown, Longford.
Eight closure orders were served under the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 2010 on:
Spice Heaven Indian Takeaway, Unit 9A, Porters Avenue, Coolmine Industrial Estate, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15; Indian Taste (take-away), 43 St. Mary’s Terrace, Ballybough Road, Dublin 3; China Garden (take-away), 8 Stockwell Street, Drogheda, Louth; Fusion Café, 109 North Main Street, Wexford and Conefrey’s Pub (food store/preparation room at the rear of pub), Main Street, Edgeworthstown, Longford (two orders).
Orders were also issued against China Town (take-away), Main Street, Castlebellingham, Louth and Market Kitchen (restaurant), Market Street, Swinford, Mayo.
Also in December, the HSE successfully prosecuted butcher Swilly Meats Ltd, Pearse Road, Letterkenny, Donegal for breaches of food additives legislation.
The FSAI advice line is available at 1890 336677 and further information is available at fsai.ie and on the organisation’s Facebook page.
On January 29th, the agency will also host a free seminar for anyone considering setting up a small food business this year.
Follow food safety guidelines for microwave cooking
Have you thought about that box in your kitchen? You know, the one that you use to re-heat leftovers or thaw out that chunk of rock-solid meat from the freezer?
Did you know there are specific food safety rules for the microwave?
When cooking in a microwave, arrange food evenly in a covered dish to allow for even cooking.
Stir or rotate food midway through the microwaving time to eliminate cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive.
Use a food thermometer or the oven's temperature probe to verify the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
Cooking times might vary. Remember to allow standing time, which completes the cooking, before checking the internal temperature with a food thermometer.
Here are the safe minimum internal temperatures;
• For steaks, chops, roasts (beef, pork, lamb, veal), cook to a minimum temperature of 145Â°F
• For ground beef, pork, lamb and veal ,cook to a minimum temperature of 160Â°F.
• Cook all poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165Â°F
• Cook egg dishes and casseroles to 160Â°F
• Reheat all leftovers to 165Â°F.
Cooking whole, stuffed poultry in a microwave oven is not recommended. The stuffing might not reach the temperature needed to destroy harmful bacteria.
So what is the best way to defrost food in your microwave? Did you know that the foam trays that meat is packaged on are not heat stable in the microwave?
If you haven't done it, I am sure one of your kids has microwaved a Styrofoam cup or tray into an unrecognizable white glob. This warping or melting of the foam might cause harmful chemicals to migrate into your food, so we recommend that you take the food to be defrosted out of its packaging, place it on a microwave safe plate or bowl and cover it with a lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap to hold in the moisture and provide safe, even heating.
If you are defrosting meat, poultry, egg casseroles or fish in the microwave, it is important to cook them immediately after defrosting.
Some areas of a frozen food might begin to cook during the defrosting process, so it is important not to hold the food for cooking later.
The very best method for defrosting is to use the refrigerator, but as you know, that takes time.
Ready-to-eat foods such as hot dogs, luncheon meats, fully cooked ham and leftovers should be heated in the microwave until they are steaming hot.
Only use cookware specifically manufactured for use in the microwave.
Glass, ceramic and all plastics should be labeled for use in the microwave.
Microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper and white microwave-safe paper towels should be safe to use.
Do not let plastic wrap touch foods during microwaving. Never use thin plastic storage bags, brown paper or plastic grocery bags, newspapers, or aluminum foil in the microwave oven.
Also remember that plastic storage containers, such as margarine tubs, take-out containers, whipped topping bowls and other one-time use containers should not be used in the microwave.
These containers can warp or melt, possibly causing harmful chemicals to migrate into the food.
It is important also to remember to keep your microwave clean.
Food that is left sticking to the inside of the microwave can cause a food safety hazard. It should be cleaned regularly.
UK toddler left disabled by E.coli; source unknown
Family and friends are rallying to help a two-year-old tot who has been left disabled after contracting E.coli.
Alfie Cairney has been in hospital for six months since being struck down with the devastating illness. Doctors say his kidneys will never function properly again and he will leave hospital severely disabled.
Friends are supporting the family by renovating their home on The Crescent in Hurdsfield to make it suitable for Alfie to live there when he finally leaves hospital.
Local businesses have also donated goods and food to volunteers working on the family’s home.
His mum Bev Russon, 35, has had to give up her job at special needs school The Meadows in order to care for Alfie. She said: “The last six months have been incredibly hard – so many bad things have happened.
“Our whole lives have been turned upside down.
“Before his illness he was just a normal little boy – a cheeky chappy who was always smiling.”
It is not known how Alfie contracted the illness.
UK man fined £4.6k for operating illegal poultry cutting plant
A Lutton man has been fined £4,650 for operating an illegal poultry cutting plant.
Shahbaz Khan, 36, of 157 Dallow Road, Luton, was prosecuted during a hearing at Luton Magistrates’ Court on Monday (January 6).
He also paid a victim surcharge of £47 and council costs of £866.
In July 2012 Luton council food safety officers were alerted by a member of the public who noticed crates of chicken meat piled up beside a garage behind shops in Riddy Lane in July 2012.
When officers visited, chicken meat was being processed without approval in unhygienic conditions. Food safety officers immediately closed the business.
Chicken was being processed in a garage with no running water and a splintered wooden pallet covered in greasy cardboard was used as a cutting surface for the meat.
The garage wall was covered with a tarpaulin sheet stained with blood and dried-on chicken flesh and the fridge door handle was dirty with dried-on chicken flesh and feathers.
Flies were crawling over a wooden cutting block.
Butchers were wearing dirty aprons stained with grease and blood, and there was a bag of filthy butchers aprons encrusted with scraps of chicken flesh.
Outside the garage, 38 crates of chicken waste including skin, bones and feathers were piled up and covered in blue-bottle flies with blood dripping from the crates and running over the pathway.
When Mr Khan failed to attend court in September 2013, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
He was finally brought before the magistrates this week and pleaded guilty to ten food hygiene offences.
Virgin Active fined after pool death
The health club chain Virgin Active has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £31,741 in costs after a 25-year-old woman drowned in one of its London pools.
Southwark Crown Court heard how Elsa Carneau was swimming lengths on 3 December 2011 at Virgin Active Club, Old Court Place, Kensington, London, when she got into difficulty. After some time other swimmers became concerned that she was underwater and not moving. Attempts to resuscitate Ms Carneau at the poolside were unsuccessful.
Ms Carneau was not a club member but had previously used the club as the guest of a member. On this occasion she was allowed to enter the club unaccompanied, contrary to club rules.
There was no legal requirement for the Virgin Active pool to have a lifeguard as a CCTV camera monitored the pool and physical poolside checks were required to be carried out.
Investigating EHOs from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea found that the CCTV situated at one end of the pool did not cover the full length of the pool and failed to monitor the end where Ms Carneau got into difficulty.
EHOs also found that Virgin Active had failed to undertake suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the swimming pool. The control and monitoring of safety measures laid out in the health club’s documentation was also found to be inadequate along with safety failings in the running of the pool.
Investigators found that the required CCTV checks and poolside checks were not being carried out on the day of the accident and that images of the pool relayed to the front desk lacked clarity.
Virgin Active had previously pleaded guilty to one offence under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and to a second offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Hammersmith Magistrates Court.
Summing up Judge McCreath said that there had been foreseeable risk at the club and that Virgin Active had breached its duty and provided inadequate supervision on the day. He however acknowledged that it was not possible to demonstrate corporate faults as Virgin Active did have strong corporate structure in place and generally had a good safety record.
Tim Ahern, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s cabinet member for environmental health, said: ‘This was a very sad case for officers to investigate. What they found was a failure to have proper procedures and risk assessments in place to ensure safe monitoring of the pool.’
Steve Naldrett of Ardan training says that- "this shows that health and safety training and awareness is vital ensuring a healthy workplace."
Raw milk farmer obstructs EHOs
A dairy farmer supplying raw milk has been warned he could face jail if he fails to co-operate with EHOs after he refused to allow them on to his farm to investigate evidence of faecal contamination.
Keith Jefferson-Smith of Grove Farm, Hollesley, Suffolk was found guilty at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court this month of intentionally obstructing EHOs at his farm in August.
Deputy district judge Samantha Leigh imposed a conditional discharge for the maximum period of 24 months, with an expectation that he would co-operate with the regulatory authorities in the future.
She warned Mr Jefferson-Smith, who pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to provide information about his food safety controls, that if he was found to be obstructive again, he risked a custodial sentence.
Mr Jefferson-Smith has been supplying raw cream and milk since 2006. He advertises his products online and delivers raw cows drinking milk to a number of locations in the vicinity of the M25.
In June the council found samples of his milk and cream showed extremely high levels of coliform. Mr Jefferson-Smith did not respond to letters or emails requesting details of what was being done to reduce faecal contamination in his products.
In August two EHOs visited the farm to check he was compiling with hygiene improvement notices.
Mr Jefferson-Smith stated vociferously that one of the EHO was banned from the premises following a formal complaint, even though the council had found his complaint to be unjustified.
The EHOs continued to ask questions relating to food safety controls but Mr Jefferson-Smith said that he was ‘pissed off’ with the EHO. He insisted he would not nominate anyone else to speak to the EHOs but agreed to supply HACCP documentation by post. However nothing was ever received.
The EHOs had a warrant from a magistrates’ court to use reasonable force to enter the premises but they had agreed in advance that force would only be used if it was necessary to gain entry to food processing areas and the premises were unoccupied.
Mr Jefferson–Smith has repeatedly objected to unannounced visits to the premises by EHOs.
In early November 2011 Mr Jefferson-Smith refused to speak with two EHOs when they visited the farm following an unsatisfactory sample result. On that occasion he handed one of the EHOs a printed document that stated that anyone entering the land without permission would be liable to pay a fee.
In mid-November 2011 two EHOs visited the premises having already obtained a warrant from a magistrates’ court to enter the premises and to take samples. Mr Jefferson-Smith was not present but when he returned to the farm he refused to speak with the EHOs. He asked the police officers that had accompanied the EHOs on site to take action against the EHOs for the theft of milk samples.
Mary Neale, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for community health, said: ‘This is a very serious offence. Environmental health officers provide an essential service in ensuring the food we eat is safe. They visit around 500 food businesses across our district each year and must be able to be able to carry out their function without hindrance, otherwise people’s health could be put at risk.’
Mr Jefferson-Smith told EHN that he believed one of the officers was banned from the farm
‘We have made two formal complaints to the council one via the National Farmers Union. We had an agreement for us to deal with other members of the Suffolk Coastal team - and we did deal [with them] and never stopped them attending,’ he claimed.
It is illegal to sell raw milk in England, Wales and Northern Ireland unless it is directly from a producer’s farm or a vehicle such as a milk float. In Scotland it is illegal to sell raw milk to the public.
Raw drinking milk may contain bacteria that can be harmful to health such as E.coli O157, listeria, salmonella and campylobacter. Pasteurisation destroys these harmful bacteria.
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