Town centre fast food premises fined for food hygiene offences

Wednesday, 6 February, 2019

A fast food takeaway shop in Harlow Town Centre has been fined £8,000 after Harlow Council successfully prosecuted the company for failing to comply with three food hygiene improvement notices.

Chick Stop Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced at Chelmsford Magistrates court on Thursday 31 January 2019. The company were fined £8,000 and a further £7,000 in costs.

The successful prosecution came about when Environmental Health Officers carried out a routine food hygiene inspection of the West Gate premises in March 2017.

The Officers found the premises to be structurally poor and in a dirty condition. During the visit further issues were uncovered, including: food handlers not trained in food hygiene; no food safety management system in place; cooked chicken stored in the hot holding cabinet at inadequate temperatures, which could cause harmful bacteria to grow; raw food stored above cooked food in the refrigerator, presenting a risk of cross contamination; dirty equipment and no disinfectants available for cleaning.

At the time of the inspection the shop was awarded a food hygiene rating of 0, the lowest possible rating, which identifies that urgent improvement is necessary. Three hygiene improvement notices were also served on the business and after two follow up visits, officers found that the notices had still not been complied with, and as a result the business was referred for prosecution.

Councillor Danny Purton, Harlow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, said:

“At the Council we have a duty of care towards our residents and take food hygiene contraventions extremely seriously. Therefore, we are very pleased to have successfully prosecuted a company who have shown a complete disregard for the safety of its consumers.

“We want people to be able to come to Harlow, enjoy a day out and a bite to eat, knowing that the restaurants and takeaway shops are being adequately regulated. Our Environmental Health Officers do a great job helping to protect the public and keep standards high in Harlow.”

Harlow Council’s Environmental Health regulates food hygiene compliance with the aim of preventing and reducing food borne illness. It does this through advice, inspection and enforcement.

The Council takes part in the Food Standards Agency's (FSA's) national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. Food hygiene ratings for businesses in Harlow can be found at: