READING Council has successfully prosecuted a Reading food business following serious food safety offences.
Sandhu Enterprises (UK) Limited, a franchisee of Ambala, based at 429 Oxford Road, Reading, was approached by Council Officers as part of an investigation into the source of food poisoning from Clostridium perfringens (a bacterium commonly found on raw meat and poultry).
Whilst there was insufficient evidence to indicate the food poisoning originated from the shop, three visits over a six week period between August and September 2017 revealed very poor food safety management practices and lack of staff training at the store.
In particular, food was not cooled or heated correctly, there no system of stock rotation or covering of high risk dishes. The Council served the company with a Hygiene Improvement Notice for failure to implement a food safety management system.
The case was heard at Reading Magistrates’ Court on 26th October 2018. The owners of Sandhu Enterprises (UK) Limited pleaded guilty to 11 charges made under the Food Safety & Hygiene Regulations 2013.
The business owners now face combined financial penalties of over £37K (a fine of £30K and £7,112 in costs).
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Member for Food Safety, said: “This successful prosecution shows the Council’s commitment to protecting consumers from unsafe food hygiene practices. We take food violations very seriously and I want to thank our officers for their extensive work which has seen these food company 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.”
The company has since invested in additional kitchen equipment to aid proper temperature control and staff have been retrained. The last inspection of the premises in August 2018 raised the store’s rating from one star to three stars.
Sandhu Enterprises (UK) Limited is a franchisee of Ambala. The Company Ambala, which has 22 stores nationwide that use the Ambala name and logos, is not implicated in this case. Sandhu Enterprises (UK) Limited own and run the Ambala stores in Reading and Slough. The other 19 Ambala stores are not owned by Sandhu Enterprises (UK) Limited and have no connection with this case.