Food inspectors in Glasgow have intervened after a number of restaurants in the city were caught illegally using gas equipment to prepare food.
The offenders were found to be using the equipment to prepare the popular Indian chapati flatbreads, even though cooking method can have potentially lethal consequences.
Council officers visited 530 food outlets in a six-month period, serving more than 54 improvement notices, according to the Glasgow Evening Times. The majority of these were due to businesses not having the necessary arrangements in place to maintain gas equipment safely.
This included a failure to have regular inspections carried out by a suitably competent gas engineer.
Inspectors also served 36 prohibition notices on businesses, which are specifically issued when appliances or fittings have been deemed unsafe.
The notices were handed out to restaurants and takeaways using ‘chapati flamers’, which are used to scorch the top of the bread.
A report from Brian Devlin, the council’s executive director of land and environmental services, said: “These devices are almost always home-made, with a rubber hose attached to a piece of copper tubing with a flattened end. A simple butterfly valve is often the only means of controlling the gas flow and the device is manually lit, for example, by a taper. It is then used in a blowtorch fashion to flame the surface of the chapati.”
The devices do not have an European Commission Declaration Of Conformity and, as a result, are illegal.
The paper said that three prohibition notices and an improvement notice were served on a single business on the ground floor of a tenement.
Devlin said: “It had decided to use liquefied petroleum gas or propane to fuel the cooking equipment in the restaurant. This is becoming more common as businesses look for ways to cut costs and some gas-fired catering equipment can be dual-fuelled.”
Although no documentation was available to prove the restaurant’s equipment was dual-fuelled, Devlin added: “If such equipment is not designed for dual use, the higher flame temperature of propane can damage burner heads, which leads to failure of equipment with potentially catastrophic effect.”