Northamptonshire food business with no hot water and ‘filthy’ conditions closed for fear of imminent health risk

Officers from Wellingborough Council inspected the premises
Officers from Wellingborough Council inspected the premises

A newly opened Wellingborough food business has been closed by officers using emergency hygiene powers for health risk fears.

Sklep Miesny U Jasia, at 35, Midland Road, Wellingborough, was closed using emergency powers available to officers from Wellingborough Council’s health protection team who visited the shop on December 18 after discovering it had very recently opened without the council being informed.

Officers found there was no hot water supply to clean food preparation areas and equipment or to enable staff to keep themselves clean, and there were no hand washing facilities where raw meat and ready to eat foods were being handled.

The rear food preparation and storage rooms along with most equipment in the rear areas was filthy, with flooding and dirty water on the floor, waste accumulation, and other equipment in this area, preventing cleaning and safe food handling.

Officers decided there was an imminent health risk and they served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice upon the company Jadlo Spod Strzechy Ltd to close it until the health risk had been removed.

The closure was confirmed in Northampton Magistrates Court on December 22 when the court agreed there was an imminent health risk and issued a court order for the premises to remain closed until such time as the council is satisfied that conditions have improved.

The court also ordered the business owner to pay the council’s full costs of £805 for the work it had to do to safeguard the public.

Officers will now continue to work with the business to ensure there is no risk to public health and that conditions are satisfactory before re-opening.

There is also an ongoing investigation taking place into the conditions witnessed.

If the shop re-opens before the council has given a written certificate that it is safe the business operator will be committing a serious criminal offence.

Amanda Wilcox, principal environmental health manager at Wellingborough Council, said: “Officers in the health protection section work informally with all local food businesses to ensure businesses understand how to manage food safety. “However, where there is an imminent risk to public health, we do not hesitate to take immediate action to remove that risk.

“In this case that involved us preventing use of the premises as a food business until conditions improved and until there is an adequate supply of hot water.

“We only use formal closure powers in exceptional circumstances, and we have to be able to demonstrate to the magistrates court that an imminent risk exists.

“The court heard the evidence in this case and agreed with our actions.

“We always recommend new food business operators contact us for advice prior to opening as this can help ensure all necessary controls are in place.”