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Harlow fast food take away shut down by council

Politics / Mon 17th Nov 2014 at 07:01pm

A FAST food takeaway near a busy Train Station has been closed by Harlow Council for a series of hygiene offences.

Harlow Council has gained an Emergency Prohibition Order against the Mirch Masala Express at Unit 1 Mill Court, Edinburgh Gate, CM20 2JA. This follows a routine food hygiene inspection by the Council’s Environmental Health Team on the 23 October 2014 which found:

There was an active cockroach infestation noted in all areas of the premises including in food containers, live cockroaches were seen on food contact surfaces. The businesses pest control records showed that this had been the case since early August.

There was no hot water supplying the wash hand basins and sinks in the food preparation areas.
A wash hand basin was not connected to the drain.

There was a risk of cross contamination in the refrigerator; raw foods were stored directly above cooked food and ready to eat food presenting risks of contamination from dripping juices from the raw food onto the ready to eat food below.

Food preparation surfaces and equipment were visibly dirty including chopping boards, oven and microwave.

Poor temperature control with uncovered cooked chicken left cooling in the kitchen and in an oven encrusted with burnt on fat.

Staff had little understanding of food hygiene and seemed unconcerned over the conditions.

The business was closed immediately by Environmental Health Officers and served with a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice.

An Officer returned to the premises on 28 October 2014 to lay cockroach traps to monitor the infestation. Live cockroaches were still evidenced near the bin area.

On 31 October 2014 an Officer returned to check the premises and although some cleaning and repairs had been carried out found the traps that had been laid contained in excess of 100 cockroaches and the premises therefore remained closed.

On 3 November 2014 an application was made to Chelmsford Magistrates Court for an Emergency Prohibition Order, which was granted and has the effect of making it an offence for a food business to operate from the premises until the Council is satisfied that it is hygienic and no health risk exists.

Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “This is not action we take lightly but the hygiene offences and the numbers of cockroaches were so extreme we had to act due to the risk the premises posed to the public. These premises operate in an area where there are hundreds of people commuting in and out of the town on a daily basis at Harlow Train Station. Officers are liaising with the owners to help them make improvements but the premises will not open until we are entirely satisfied that they have reached compliance.”

The Council is currently considering taking further legal action against the owners.

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