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Massive fine for food manufacturer

03 August 2011

The manager of a Southall food manufacturer that supplies 30,000 Indian snacks a day to shops across London will have to pay out more than £16,000 for food hygiene offences

The manager of a Southall food manufacturer that supplies 30,000 Indian snacks a day to shops across London will have to pay out more than £16,000 for food hygiene offences.
Parmpal Singh Brar, the manager responsible for the day to day running of Quality Foods, units 3-6 and 15-16 Witley Industrial Estate, Witley Gardens, Southall, appeared before Ealing Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 28 July.

He pleaded guilty to nine food hygiene offences including storing and cooking raw meat products while prohibited and failing to comply with a hygiene improvement notice issued by the council following an earlier inspection.

A food hygiene investigation was begun in April 2010 after the council received a complaint about glass being found in a samosa. Inspectors found buckets used to store samosa ingredients covered in slime and an over powering unpleasant smell. They also uncovered a food conveyor belt with caked-on food and grease and numerous examples of poor hygiene and cleanliness across all the units.

After the visit the business volunteered to temporarily close to allow improvements to be made and Ealing Council issued a notice of suspension, prohibiting the business from storing or cooking any raw meat products.

But at a follow-up visit in December officers found a walk-in fridge labelled ‘raw meat’, containing approximately 10 kilos of raw minced lamb, together with cooked meat that had been prepared on the premises, despite the suspension notice. The fridge also contained raw vegetables, presenting the potential for cross contamination.

Councillor Ranjit Dheer, cabinet member for Community Services and Safety, said: “It’s totally unacceptable to produce food in these conditions and it could have caused a major food poisoning outbreak. It is reprehensible that someone would deliberately defy a suspension notice placed on a company to protect consumers. Our officers will continue to work with food businesses to maintain a high level of quality, but we will always take action when standards are being ignored.”

Brar was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 towards the council’s prosecution costs, plus £15 victim surcharge.


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