Routine kitchen inspection turns nasty

The owner of a restaurant in Kingston chased a council hygiene inspector down the road and began shouting at him after being told his dirty kitchen breached food regulations.

51-year-old Daniele Ragona, who owns the Bruschetta pizza and pasta restaurant, also “obstructed and pushed” the inspector as he carried out a survey of the premises.

Ragona was in court last week to plead guilty to three offences including a lack of an adequate hot water supply, dirty storage equipment and greasy, dirty conditions.

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He was fined £3,000 for failing to keep his premises clean and breaking food hygiene rules.

Council inspectors raised concerns over hygiene standards at Bruschetta in June 2012 and wrote to the owner with a list of required improvements.

After further visits he was told that he had complied but warned that a repeat of the conditions found earlier was likely to lead to legal action.

Later inspections found more food hygiene failings, which on one occasion led to him pushing the council inspector and following him down the street.

Police accompanied council inspectors on a subsequent inspection in February last year when they found dirty and greasy work surfaces, poor cleaning equipment, dusty and dirty flooring, and no hot water from the kitchen sink’s tap.

Plastic trays used to drain washed dishes and cutlery were dirty and black with signs of mould in places.

The court heard that Ragona had suffered illness and financial troubles, and he apologised for the offences and the way he had behaved.

Ragona was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £690 costs plus a £100 victim surcharge.

Councillor Liz Green, Kingston Council leader, said: “We take any risk to public health very seriously, and work with food businesses to help them comply with the regulations. In this case there were warnings and opportunities to improve, but ultimately it was so serious that we had to prosecute.”

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