Merton takes court action against local take away

Merton Council prosecuted the owner of a Mitcham take away café in Wimbledon Magistrates Court on Wednesday 28th September 2011 after a string of food hygiene offences.

Mr Ping Zhang, the owner of Xu Sheng, 76 Monarch Parade in Mitcham pleaded guilty to six offences under the Food Hygiene Regulations at Wimbledon Magistrates Court last week and was fined £250 and ordered to pay the full council costs of £978 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Whilst these offences can attract fines of up to £5,000 each, the Court was mindful of Mr Zhang’s limited financial circumstances.

In a routine inspection carried out last year at Xu Sheng Café Merton’s environmental health officers a number of offences were noted and the premises closed on the spot.

The council’s team discovered a mouse infestation at the café. Mouse droppings were found throughout the premises along the floors and on the shelving. In the food store a dead mouse was found on the floor under the shelving where food, used in the café was being stored.

The premises were also very dirty and in very poor decorative condition. There was a thick build up of dirt and grease on the floors and the cookers were coated in old food debris and burnt grease.

There was also no hot water, soap or towels at the wash hand basin, very important for hand washing before handling food and a vital step to preventing food poisoning.

The premises were closed on the spot and were not allowed to re-open until pest control measures had been put in place, contaminated food had been destroyed and the premises thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Mr Zhang has complied with these measures and Merton’s environmental health officers allowed him to re-open. The team is continuing to work positively with Mr Zhang but unless standards continue to improve, further formal action cannot be ruled out.

Councillor Andrew Judge cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration said:

‘Our environmental health officers do their utmost to work with food businesses and restaurants to avoid closure where possible. However, we have a duty to our residents to put their needs first and will not tolerate standards anything less than excellent when it comes to the public’s health.

‘We will continue to ensure that, if restaurants and takeaways want to stay open in Merton, they will have to meet the highest hygiene standards.’