The Chinese Buffet on Church Street will now pay almost £9,000
A woman who feared her daughter had become ill because a Chinese restaurant failed to state a dish contained peanuts which she was allergic to prompted a food hygiene investigation at the outlet.
A court heard it was one of a number of complaints of illness from people who had eaten at the massive serve yourself Chinese Buffet.
The buffet on Church Street is one of eight in a chain of all-you-can-eat restaurants across the North of England.
It opened in 2014 and the complaints led to a visit by hygiene inspectors in 2018.
Today/yesterday 107 ( Blackpool)Ltd pleaded guilty to eight hygiene offences and two health and safety charges.
One of the health and safety breached was having a walk in freezer with no inside exit button.
Lynda Bennett,prosecuting for Blackpool Council said:
"The freezer is some way from the main dining area and if someone had got trapped inside no one would have known.”
The second safety issue was that ice was forming on the floor of the freezer which could endanger staff.
District Judge Jane Goodwin was told by the prosecutor:
"There have been complaints to the council from people who have eaten there and then suffered food poisoning types of illness.”
“One parent complained her daughter had suffered an allergic reaction which suggested her food may have contained peanuts.”
She said this prompted an investigation by the local authority which revealed the kitchens were very dirty.
The walls, units,chiller units,shelving and microwave were dirty.
Flooring was damaged and staff washing facilities were unsatisfactory and did not have towels.
Dirt was also found around the dessert preparation area.
The chef was confronted about allergy warnings on foods but his lack of English meant an interpreter had to be brought in.
The prosecutor said that notices about allergens are now being displayed above food.
The restaurant also failed to keep utensils which came into contact with food clean and disinfected causing a risk of contamination.
Staff at the restaurant- which the council said can take up to £14,000 at a weekend- staff also failed to keep up with paperwork required by law.
In fact one temperature chart had been filled in in advance.
Tim Pole, defending, said:
”The company wishes to apologise for the failings.The director Peter Wu is concerned the buffet failed to keep the standards it ought to have done.”
“Over a five year period there were 21 complaints and during that time there were some 70,000 customers which means the percentage of complaints was very very small.”
“There was a failing in standards and the head chef was replaced and new systems put in.”
He said the company had no previous convictions and had shown a high level of co operation with the council.
Sentencing the company the Judge said:
”It is a privilege to serve food to the public and standards have to be high.”
“There were poor hygiene standards some practices fell short of what is needed.”
The firm Was fined a total of £6,600 and must pay £2010 court costs and £170 victims’ surcharge.