Berkhamsted takeaway operator fined for food hygiene offences

A Berkhamsted takeaway operator has been found guilty of 21 food hygiene offences and fined more than £15,000.

On 13 February 2019 at St Albans Magistrates' Court, Mr Ased Ashfaq - food business operator of Flamingo’s Grill, Gossoms End, Berkhamsted - was found guilty of the offences.

The prosecution was taken by us due to a failure of the business to act on advice from our environmental health officers. The premises was voluntarily closed on 30 January 2018 due to poor hygienic conditions and an infestation of rats. After improvements the business was permitted to re-open.

However, following a revisit on 22 February 2018 to ensure that conditions had been maintained, officers found that conditions had deteriorated to the extent that the business needed to be formally closed as it presented a health risk condition. St Albans Magistrates agreed with the action taken by the council officers and imposed a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order.

Mr Ashfaq was found guilty of 21 food hygiene offences, receiving a total fine of £15,750, with costs of £9,281 and victim surcharge of £75. The total amount payable to the court was £25,106 - this took into account Mr Ashfaq’s guilty plea, otherwise the fine would have been greater.

The failure of the business to act after the voluntary closure to maintain standards, and the food business operator’s disregard for public safety, gave us little alternative but to take formal action.

Cllr Neil Harden, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services, said: "For the protection of the public we had to take legal action - this conviction will send out an important message to anyone who thinks it's acceptable to take shortcuts when it comes to food hygiene.

“Our officers are happy to offer guidance to businesses to ensure no such issues arise, so I would advise operators to make use of that free advice as we won’t hesitate to take action when we consider it necessary.”

Our environmental health team is employed to check that food businesses in Dacorum comply with food law requirements and are authorised to take action where they find non-compliance.

You can find out more about food safety by visiting our food safety page.