A CURRY house voted the best in Wales only last year has been fined £10,000 after food hygiene inspectors found rat droppings on the premises.
The owners of Llanymynech’s Bengal Spices, Rabiul Alam, 34, and Mizanur Chowdhury, 43, pleaded guilty to nine food hygiene breaches when they appeared at Llandrindod Magistrates Court this week.
The restaurant was closed in November 2013 after Powys County Council (PCC) received a complaint from a member of the public.
Nigel Vaughan, prosecuting, said that inspectors found rat droppings in the toilets and the lobby near the kitchen area.
They also found evidence of “gnawing”.
Mr Vaughan said the restaurant displayed “unacceptable standards of cleanliness” and food premises, articles, fittings and equipment were not kept in a “clean condition”.
The court heard the restaurant had also failed to ensure food was thawed safely, while other food was found uncovered.
Mr Vaughan said inspectors found hanging poppadoms were in contact with newspapers.
The owners also admitted to failing to follow procedures based on the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) procedure.
Magistrates heard they had signed off to confirm daily checks had been carried out.
“The standards there contradicted that these daily checks had taken place,” said Mr Vaughan.
Mr Vaughan said the HACCP suggested that anything dirty should be cleaned immediately – however it was evident they were not.
A number of food items had been found kept at an “ambient temperature”.
In particular prawns had been found left to defrost at an “ambient temperature”, as were other cooked foods which were described as “high risk”.
Cooked meat dishes and rice was also stored unrefrigerated and in a “warm condition”.
Elzbeth Kenni, mitigating, said that every evening after the restaurant closed, the premises were cleaned and pest control measures were carried out, while every Sunday evening, they cleaned the premises more thoroughly.
She said: “Since the closure both Mr Chowdhury and Mr Alam and their staff have taken extensive measures to improve standards at the restaurant.”
The measures include a new tiled kitchen floor, monthly pest control, extensive cleaning, two new fridges and that kitchen tiles had been re-grouted.
Mrs Kenni said fortunately they had not heard of any rodent activity in the kitchen.
The pair were ordered to pay £5,900.75 each, which includes the fine, costs and a victim surcharge.