Reading Quality Foods Prosecuted For Rat & Cockroach Infestation
Reading Quality Foods
Reading Council has successfully prosecuted two Reading food businesses in south Reading, after major food, hygiene and safety offences.
The business owners now face combined fines of almost £10K following breaches, including untreated rat and cockroach infestations, food contaminated with rat faeces and a severe lack of sanitary conditions for food preparation.
Reading Quality Foods and Al-Muzammil Halal Meat
The two businesses, Reading Quality Foods and Al-Muzammil Halal Meat (based within Reading Quality Foods), 73-75 Northumberland Avenue, were first closed by the Council’s food and safety team on 7th November 2016, using Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notices.
Following the initial closure, the businesses subsequently failed to comply with further enforcement notices. Both have since ceased to trade.
On 13th April 2018 at Reading Magistrates’ Court, the Council’s food safety team successfully prosecuted Mr Muhammed Nasar, age 35, of Bevelwood Gardens, High Wycombe, in relation to his business Al-Muzammil Halal Meats that operated within Reading Quality Foods.
Mr Nasar pleaded guilty to 20 offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and other related legislation. The judge commented that “the defendant had flagrantly disregarded the regulations.” He was given a fine of £240 per offence. Legal costs of £1,176 were awarded and the defendant faced total costs of £6,006.
On Friday 18th May 2018, Satpal Singh Nangpal, age 40, of Heston Avenue, Hounslow, owner of Reading Quality Foods, pleaded guilty to 27 offences at Reading Magistrates’ Court. This included 3 offences under the Health and Safety Act, with the other offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
The judge said that the offences were very serious, and the fact that the defendant had no previous retail experience was no excuse: “Operating the business in the manner he did put the public’s health at risk.”
For six of the most serious food/hygiene offences, Mr Nangpal was fined £320 for each offence, and a further £480 for each of the two most serious health and safety offences, with no separate penalty for the remaining offences. In total he was fined £3,928, including £1,000 towards legal costs.
The judge also granted a Hygiene Prohibition Order to prevent the defendant from being involved in the management of a food business in future.
Under New Management
Both businesses at 73-75 Northumberland Avenue are now under new management.
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Member for Health and Food Safety, said: “These successful prosecutions show the Council’s commitment to protecting consumers from rogue shop owners. We take food violations very seriously and I want to thank our officers for their extensive work which has seen these store owners held accountable for their actions.”
“Whilst the vast majority of food outlets are responsible and meet the high standards of food safety, here is an example of offenders who did not appear to take those responsibilities seriously. There is no excuse for these kinds of breaches of basic food hygiene. This sends out a clear message that public safety remains a priority and poor standards will not to be tolerated.”