Crestdane Ltd was told it could never run restaurants again after the company's owners pleaded guilty at Woolwich Crown Court on 19 January to 18 breaches of food hygiene regulations at its Peninsula Chinese Restaurant.
The court heard how the restaurant had been shut down by environmental health officers in April 2011, who, during a random inspection, found the kitchens in a 'disgraceful state'.
Mouse droppings were found among packets of food and next to plates while mouldy vegetables littered the floor of the walk-in fridge and grease lined the floor under the cooking range.
Under food laws, the restaurant was permitted to re-open after eight days following a clean-up of the kitchen and treatment of the mouse infestation, but when the case came to court, the judge decided to close it again after it was revealed it had been charged and fined for similar offences in February 2010.
Profits over health
Councillor Maureen O’Mara, Greenwich cabinet minister for community safety and environment said she was pleased with the verdict, particularly as the restaurant had failed to take heed of advice and warning letters about its hygiene.
“The hygiene conditions at this restaurant were an absolute disgrace," she said. "The key priority seemed to be placing profits over offering good quality food by operating with a blatant disregard for the health of their customers. We have tried to support the restaurant to clean up its act, but they have consistently failed to do so.
“This is an incredibly significant year for Greenwich as we celebrate our new Royal Borough status and our special role as Host Borough for the 2012 London Games. We are proud to welcome 18 million years every year and our restaurants help support a tourism industry which brings in £774 million to the local economy and supports more than 8,000 jobs.
“We are determined to ensure that locals and visitors to Greenwich can enjoy the exciting range of international foods on offer, without worrying about how safe the hygiene conditions are in the kitchen.”
A breach of food hygiene in a restaurant can result in a number of different outcomes, including being closed for business until required changes are made and criminal prosecution. Environmental health officers at local authorities and the Food Standards Agency can both bring prosecutions if laws are being breached.