Restaurant owner fined for rat infestation - Burnham

The owner of a restaurant in Burnham has been fined after Environmental Health officers found a rat infestation in a food storage room.

Abu Siddique, owner of Unique Spice and the associated company Unique Spice (South Bucks) Limited were found guilty of food hygiene offences at Wycombe Magistrates' Court on the 4th July 2018.

They were fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £2218.

Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils Environmental Health Officers visited the restaurant in July last year and found rat droppings posing a direct risk of contamination to the food in the top store room above the restaurant.

There was also evidence of rat droppings, a gnawed door frame, nesting material and gnawed food in that room.

A Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served prohibiting the use of the first floor storage area in connection with the food business.

Between March 2013 and July 2017 the food hygiene rating scheme scores for the restaurant had fluctuated from a score of 0 (urgent improvement required) to a score of 2 (improvement necessary).

The premises were re-inspected in January 2018 and received a hygiene rating of 4 (good).

The Magistrates noted that despite the company having a poor hygiene rating, the owner, Mr Siddique was of exemplary character and had taken the offence seriously and was remorseful.

Cllr Patrick Hogan, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Health, said: "In the South Bucks district most food businesses are broadly compliant, that is, 96% of them have a food hygiene rating of 3 or more. Environmental Health Officers prefer to work with businesses to help them to improve but repeated low ratings of 2 or below are intolerable and formal action is likely to take place, as in this instance."

The Council always tries to work with food businesses to improve hygiene standards. However, when public health is put at risk we will not hesitate to take immediate enforcement action to protect residents and visitors to the District.