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SANDOWN COUNCILLOR AND RESTAURANT OWNER FINED FOR FOOD HYGIENE OFFENCES


A councillor who consistently failed to meet minimum food hygiene standards at his restaurant in Sandown has been ordered to pay over £6,000 in fines and costs by Isle of Wight magistrates.

The court heard poor standards of cleanliness had persisted at Swad, in Sandown High Street, over several years despite numerous interventions by the Isle of Wight Council.

On Monday, the restaurant’s owner, Cllr Raj Patel, was fined £4,800 – reduced to £3,200 for an early guilty plea – with the council awarded £2,702 in costs.

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Mr Patel, who represents Sandown North Ward and was once the Mayor of the town, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 5 food hygiene offences, including failing to keep the premises clean and failing to protect food from contamination.

Magistrates heard inspections in 2016, 2017 and 2018 all resulted in the business being graded as 0 out of 5 on the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and described as requiring ‘urgent improvement’.

When officers from the local authority’s environmental health department visited the premises in March 2018, they noted equipment was visibly unclean, with evidence of grease, food debris and dirt throughout the food preparation rooms. There was inadequate segregation of raw chicken stored in carrier bags above ready-to-eat ice cream within a freezer, while foods including prawns, samosas and prepared chicken had been left uncovered in another.

The designated hand wash basin had no hot running water or hand soap, while another sink was obstructed by equipment. The kitchen floor was also unclean with cracked, uneven and missing tiles.

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The inspection also revealed a number of foods stored in the fridges and freezers had not been given date labels.

Mr Patel, who has run the business for 11 years, agreed to close the restaurant voluntarily and undertake a deep clean of the premises which was confirmed in a follow-up inspection. However, when officers visited again in June 2018, further failings were identified; some of which had been identified in the March inspection.

The court heard when officers visited in September 2018, many of the failings were still apparent.

Speaking after the case, Amanda Gregory, strategic manager for regulatory and community safety services, said:

“We expect all food businesses to comply with the law and ensure consumers are not at risk.

“Advice and assistance is given but if non-compliance is repeated or when serious offences are identified, we will prosecute, not only to protect the public but to ensure a level playing field for the vast majority of Island business who do comply.”

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.

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Tim C
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Tim C

My god, that is disgusting and that man is a councillor and former mayor! He can’t even run his own business.
Places like that should be shut down permanantly and the owner/s banned from being concerned in the supply of food for a very long time time… if not permenantly.

June
Guest
June

He has so many warnings and guidelines but ignored them all. Glad I have never ate in there.

steve bahama
Guest
steve bahama

I’ve known a few people to get food poisoning at his restaurant, looking at this I can see why. Why hasn’t he been shut down it’s disgusting

James
Guest
James

He was given enough warning so should be shut drown end off

Rog
Guest
Rog

Is that the same councillor who was taken to court for not paying rates?

ALAN YOUNG
Guest
ALAN YOUNG

if you were a normal trader restaurant owner you would be shut down but as a councillor and mayor you get away with it

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