The owner of a takeaway in Billericay has narrowly escaped jail after being found guilty of 15 separate food hygiene breaches.
Basildon Crown Court heard that the standard of hygiene and equipment maintenance at the Ocean Queen fish and chip shop, was so poor that the magistrates court felt their sentencing powers were insufficient to deal with the offences.
Environmental health visitors from Basildon Council who visited the site found there was no system for managing food safety at the premises, while food was found stored out of refrigeration and the hand washing facilities were inadequate.
The structure was dirty and poorly maintained, as was much of the cooking equipment within, according to the council.
Owner Tevfik Akyel was handed a 12 months custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months, for the offences and also ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work.
Phil Easteal, Basildon Council’s manager of environmental health, said that although prosecution is always the last resort for the council, Akyel had ignored a number of opportunities to comply with the law.
“The severity of the 12 month sentence, albeit suspended, is very unusual for a food prosecution case but it does reflect the judge’s concerns over the risk to public health,” he stated.
“It is important that residents and visitors to the borough can choose and trust the places where food is prepared and available and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that food is prepared in clean, safe and hygienic conditions,” added Easteal.