THE owner of a Chinese restaurant in Hadleigh has been ordered to pay more than £5,000 in fines and costs after hygiene inspectors found a decomposing mouse in a food store.

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Wing Cheung, who owns the China Garden in the High Street, appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court after failing to manage food safety standards on the premises for an extended period of time.

Magistrates heard how hygiene inspectors from Babergh District Council visited the premises for a routine inspection on the April 4 2012 and were concerned to find a number of breaches of the hygiene legislation including failure to keep premises clean and failure to effectively proof the premises against pests.

There was a hole in the wall of the food store, food spillages which would be attractive to rodents had not been cleaned away, and foods had been left uncovered exposing them to a risk of contamination.

The court heard how hygiene inspectors found a partially decomposed dead mouse in the store and that there was also a poor standard of cleaning in the kitchen.

It was also discovered that raw foods and ready-to-eat foods were not adequately separated posing a risk of food poisoning to customers.

The Safer Food Better Business pack, which should have been used to manage food safety on the premises, was almost entirely blank.

Wing Cheung pleaded guilty to five offences under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.

He attributed the failures to his being away from the premises most of the time and being let down by his head chef, who should have monitored that standards were being maintained.

Magistrates ordered him to pay a fine of £4,250 along with Babergh District Council’s full costs of £1,030 and told Mr Cheung that they hoped he has learned his lesson and would carry out proper checks on the running of the premises in the future.

Emma Richbell, Babergh’s senior food and safety officer, said: “Unfortunately China Garden has had a poor history of compliance with food hygiene legislation and

“Mr Cheung has continually ignored advice given to him by officers of this department so when we found the breaches on the April 4 we had no option but to prosecute.

“We will continue to work with Mr Cheung and his staff to ensure that satisfactory standards of hygiene are maintained in the future.”

Chair of the Bench, giving judgement, said: “The premises were seriously below the standard acceptable by law.”

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