A food business, which made chicken kebabs in a “literal building site”, is facing a £22,000 bill over a string of health violations.
Xpress Food UK Ltd was found to have breached multiple hygiene regulations following a hearing at Bolton Magistrates’ Court.
Bolton Council’s Environmental Health Officers first visited the business, at St Pauls Mill in Caroline Street, in May 2018 following an anonymous complaint.
An inspection report described the premises as “literally a building site” with construction work ongoing, tools left in the food production area and no appropriate handwashing facilities available.
The court heard that chicken kebabs were being made in an unclean environment, then placed in packaging displaying an invalid approval number.
The number related to Xpress Food’s previous address in Preston, which had its approval withdrawn after inspectors there served the facility with a remedial action notice for hygiene violations.
Bolton Council served Xpress Food with a remedial action notice for the new address, ordering a halt to all food production on the site.
All existing stock and raw ingredients were voluntarily surrendered and destroyed.
A subsequent attempt by business owner Suleman Patel to attain approval for the premises from the council was refused due to noncompliance with infrastructure requirements.
Despite this, Xpress Food kebabs in invalid packaging were discovered in the freezer of a shop in Bolton in June 2018.
This immediately prompted a second visit from the environmental health team, which uncovered a large volume of cooked kebabs on the site.
A detention notice was issued to prevent this new stock being removed from the site, but kebabs from the same batch were found to have been delivered to shops in Bolton the very next day.
All items were then seized, and a food condemnation order was granted to have the kebabs destroyed.
In July 2018, kebabs were discovered in yet another Bolton store with invoices revealing they had been delivered on May 28, after the original order to halt production.
Following the court hearing, Xpress Food UK Ltd was prosecuted for numerous offences:
- Failure to keep the food premises clean and maintained in good repair and condition
- Failure to provide an adequate number of wash hand basins with hot and cold running water, materials for cleaning hands and for hygienic drying
- Placing on the market food that is considered to be unsafe
- Failure to comply with a Remedial Action Notice
The firm was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £6,592 in costs together with a £170 victim surcharge.
Magistrates also imposed an open-ended prohibition on Suleman Patel, banning him indefinitely from managing any food business.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Regulatory Services, Cllr Anne Galloway, said:
“This business put public safety at risk by producing unsafe food in unacceptable conditions.
“Xpress Food moved to Bolton after its previous site had its approval withdrawn and this result shows that this council will not tolerate poor hygiene standards.
“Not only does this case serve as a deterrent to other firms that flout the law, but it is an excellent example of the hard work that goes into ensuring that the food that reaches our shops and restaurants is safe to eat.”