Officers from the London Borough of Bexley’s Food Safety team first visited the food business, which was trading as SOY and run by Tony Chuoc Ha Lam, at 11 Hailey Road, Erith in March last year.
The council said that during their visit they had found filthy premises in poor condition riddled with mould, filthy equipment, leaking drainage, no hand washing facilities, inadequate and dirty protective clothing and a rodent infestation.
“The business had not been registered with the council as required by law and had no systems in place to ensure that the ready-to-eat foods produced on site were safe to eat,” said the council in a statement it issued following the April 20 verdict.
“The hygiene conditions at the food factory were so poor as to present an imminent risk to health. The premises were closed voluntarily by Mr Lam, who agreed not to use the premises for further food production or storage until the risks to health had been removed.”
While monitoring the business to ensure that it remained closed, officers obtained information that food continued to be produced on site just two weeks after their first visit, according to the local authority.
They obtained a warrant and were able to force entry to the premises. They confirmed the intelligence that food was still being prepared on site, which was contrary to the voluntary closure agreement, and that the premises were still extremely filthy.
Officers then decided to formally close the premises using a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition.
In addition to the fine it imposed, Bexley Magistrates’ Court also ordered Lam to pay £2,000 towards the council’s costs, as well as a victim surcharge of £120.
Food safety conference
Food safety and integrity throughout the whole supply chain will be the focus of the Food Manufacture Group’s 2015 one-day ‘Food safety conference – from the harvest to the home’, which takes place at The Lowry in Manchester on Tuesday September 29.
The conference is targeted at practitioners in food and drink who are involved with food safety. It will be chaired by Professor Colin Dennis, president elect of the US Institute of Food Technologists, former director general of Campden BRI and past president of the UK Institute of Food Science & Technology.
Speakers from the Food Standards Agency, Food and Environmental Research Agency, Society of Food Hygiene & Technology, and British Retail Consortium will be among those giving presentations on the day. More information is available here or email: Xngvr.Gurbsnabhf@jeoz.pbz.