Lancashire APA laboratory plays it's part in securing a successful prosecution of takeway owner.
A Lancaster takeaway has been fined £15,000 for breaching food hygiene regulations after a customer found a 3cm long screw inside an onion bhaji. N & S (Lancs) LLP, which operates Nice and Spicy in Church Street, was charged with seven offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
Included within the charges was the sale of an onion bhaji that was considered unsafe and unfit for human consumption. By examination of the bhaji using low power microscopy, Bharatha Reddy, Public Analyst for Lancashire County Scientific Services, was able to observe a tapered screw which was clearly visible and presented securely lodged into the side of the bhaji. Further microscopical examination identified slithers of cooked onion epithelium tightly twisted around the thread of the screw and that the contents of the cross head consisted mostly of partially cooked gram flour batter. The imprint left in the bhaji perfectly matched the size and dimensions of the screw. From this, Bharathi was able to conclude that the screw became associated with the bhaji during the production process and more specifically at the mixing bowl stage.
Magistrates heard that food hygiene inspectors from Lancaster City Council visited the premises in January 2019 in response to the food complaint and the inspection confirmed a number of food hygiene offences. A council environmental health officer carried out an inspection of the premises and found that there was building work being undertaken at the premises and food was not adequately protected from contamination. Open and unlidded ingredients were stored in the dry store goods area which was dusty and dirty and the structure was unfinished.
Mark Davies, director of communities and the environment, said: “All food businesses have a fundamental duty to their customers to operate their businesses in a responsible way to ensure that the food they provide is prepared in hygienic conditions and is fit for human consumption.