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Shut down

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Shut down thumbnailRed Dragon Chinese takeaway on Bridge Street in Banbridge, was the subject of an emergency court order last week, as council officials demanded an immediate closure of the premises.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL Health Officer with the council has described a Chinese takeaway as the "worst food premises he has come across in his 15 years of work".

The officer was speaking as Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council took emergency enforcement action against the owner of the Red Dragon takeaway.

The action came following an inspection by an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) of the Bridge Street premises. During the inspection they uncovered a rat infestation where food was being prepared, in areas where it was at risk of contamination.

The kitchen was described in Banbridge Magistrates' Court last week, as being in "a horrendous state" and the EHO said there was "evidence of rats and grease-encrusted surfaces" alongside no "evidence of hand-washing facilities" inside the premises.

The council attended the Chinese takeaway last Tuesday (1 August) after they received a report from a concerned member of the public.

That person told The Outlook they had found five dead rats in a neighbouring property and they could not understand "how the place was even allowed to be trading".

They have questioned how the takeaway received a 'three' rating in the Food Hygiene Rating scheme back in February this year, and said it had deteriorated to "an awful state".

"I can't even think of a word bad enough to describe it. Vile does not even come close," they said.

When the council arrived at the premises last week they made their way to the first floor and saw there were "extensive rat droppings".

At the back of the premises there was waste material and 10 to 12 rat traps. There were also "holes in the ground where rats could get into the premises, with no attempt to cover them" the court heard.

In the kitchen there was "exposed food which could have had direct contact with rat urine or droppings" and every surface was "grease encrusted". Rice was also left out uncovered.

"It is the worst food premises I have come across," the EHO told the court last Thursday (3 August).

The court also heard the owner did not seem "overly concerned" there were rats and when the council served him with the enforcement notice, they were concerned he might reopen.

"We had concerns, so we got a bin lorry to call round and asked the owner to voluntarily surrender the food stuff and packaging. He was reluctant to hand it over, but he did."

The court heard that efforts had been made to clean up the premises since the council served the notice, but they had been "superficial to date".

Speaking about the case, the council's Head of Environmental Health said: "We are pleased that the court confirmed our actions in relation to preventing the premises from operating, where there was an imminent health risk posed by rodent contamination.

"It is regrettable that given the advice and support that is available from the council to help businesses understand food safety laws, that such action was necessary.

"Taking emergency legal action was the only option, given the risk to health.

"The business can reopen again in the future when the council is satisfied that conditions no longer present a health risk.

"The vast majority of food businesses in the borough take their food hygiene responsibilities very seriously.

"Let me take this opportunity to remind the public that food businesses are legally required to display their hygiene ratings at the entrance to their premises.

"This information can be found at www.ratings.food.gov.uk".

The takeaway had been given a food hygiene rating of 'three' earlier this year, having previously received a 'one' rating.

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