Winsford restaurant owner sentenced for food safety and hygiene offences

14 November 2019

The owner of a restaurant in Winsford has been sentenced for food safety and hygiene offences at Chester Crown Court.

On Thursday, 14 September at Chester Crown Court, Layekul Islam (60) of Tabley Grove, Lonsight, Manchester, the owner of Balti Cottage, Over Square, Winsford, was sentenced to a community order for 12 months instead of a custodial sentence, and ordered to pay £1,500 in fines, a victim surcharge and costs of £1,489 for food safety and hygiene offences.

On 3 September 2018 Regulatory Services officers visited Balti Cottage to investigate a complaint regarding a young boy who had suffered an allergic reaction following the consumption of a chicken masala takeaway meal purchased the night before.  This was despite the parents making the takeaway aware they required a nut-free meal and receiving an assurance that it was peanut free.

Whilst the officers were investigating the allegation and taking samples of ingredients they discovered live German Cockroaches in the main cooking and preparation areas. The business voluntarily closed with immediate effect until it had undergone a deep clean and action had been taken to eradicate the presence of the cockroaches.

The business was subsequently allowed to re-open on 10 September after officers were satisfied there was no risk to health.

A sample of the chicken masala meal was sent for analysis and it was found to contain a level of peanut which was described as ‘at a level of greater than 800mg/kg and a food with this level of peanut should not be described as peanut free or suitable for customers with a peanut allergy’.

A sample of one of the ingredients described to the investigating officers as ‘almond flour’ was sent off for analysis and the report from the public analyst stated there was greater than 40mg/kg of peanut which was sufficient to induce an allergenic reaction and render the food it unfit for human consumption to a person with a peanut allergy.

Officers further discovered that the business had received two deliveries containing peanut powder before the September incident and then after their visit a change to almond powder.

When sentencing the judge emphasised the seriousness of case.

The Council’s Director of Place Operations, Maria Byrne, said: “This sentence demonstrates the extreme nature of the offences. Regulatory Services officers discovered flagrant breaches of food safety regulations regarding the presence of cockroaches and service of a meal containing peanut. 

“This business put the lives of its customers at risk and it was extremely fortunate that the young boy in this case did not suffer more serious consequences.

“All food businesses have a duty to serve food that is safe and should they fail it is totally unacceptable and the Council has a duty to protect the health of the general public. In this case, officers discovered a flagrant disregard to the issue of allergens that posed a significant risk to the public.  

“Food businesses that do not comply with the regulations and put the general public at risk will not be tolerated. Thankfully the majority of business operating in Cheshire West and Chester operates to a high level of compliance. 

“Officers within our Regulatory Services team work proactively to help business owners comply with legislation and meet hygiene standards and food safety.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council operates a paid for advisory service for all food businesses called the ‘GET5’ scheme. Call 01244 973486 for more information or see the Council’s website.

13 December 2019 is the fifth anniversary of the introduction of legislation regarding allergens. This requires allergenic information to be provided for all foods. There have been some recent very high profile cases, unfortunately some involving the tragic death of members of the public with allergies. It is a subject that is not new to the catering trade and local businesses.


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