Pizzeria owner prosecuted for food hygiene offences

Published Thursday, 9th May 2019

Hartlepool Borough Council has successfully prosecuted Mr Mustafa Dag, the food business operator of AFC Pizzeria & Grill House, 133 Stockton Road, Hartlepool, for numerous food hygiene offences.

On 3rd May 2019, Mr Mustafa Dag appeared before Teesside Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to five charges brought under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013. He was convicted and ordered to pay a total fine of £1,600 plus a surcharge of £32 and £837 in costs to the Council.

The court heard evidence of poor hygiene practices at the premises including failing to ensure that adequate procedures were in place to control pests, failing to protect food from the risk of contamination, failing to keep the structure of the premises and equipment clean and failing to put in place, implement and maintain a food safety management system.

During August 2018 Hartlepool Borough Council’s Environmental Health Officers visited the premises on numerous occasions, initially responding to a complaint received from a member of the public alleging that they saw a mouse at the premises. At the time of this visit, it was evident that the premises had an active and widespread infestation of mice. A poor standard of cleaning was also noted. As a result Mr Dag agreed to voluntarily close the premises and immediately engaged a pest contractor.

Officers worked closely with Mr Dag and his pest contractor, and over the course of several re-visits the standard of hygiene and cleanliness improved and the premises recommenced trading.

Following a re-inspection of the premises in November 2018, the premises were given a Food Hygiene Rating score of ‘4’ - Good. A recent inspection of the premises carried out in April 2019, confirmed that satisfactory standards have since been maintained and the premises have kept their rating of ‘4’ - Good.

Sylvia Pinkney, the Council's Head of Public Protection, said: “We work very closely with businesses to ensure they know the law and offer help and advice where we can. We have an excellent record in the borough of food hygiene compliance.  Over 90% of food businesses in Hartlepool have achieved a ‘4’ or ‘5’ rating under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.  However, in certain cases, prosecution is the only option to ensure people are protected from the risk of food poisoning.  We hope that this prosecution and fine will send a strong message out to the minority of food businesses that do not take food hygiene seriously and put people’s health at risk.”

Before choosing where to eat in Hartlepool, check the food hygiene ratings by visiting http://ratings.food.gov.uk or look out for the green and black rating stickers.